McNutt v. Social Security Administration
ORDER affirming the decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSING CASE. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 7/24/13. (kpr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JASON WAYNE MCNUTT
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner,
Social Security Administration
McNutt sought disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income, claiming he was disabled at age twenty-seven due to back problems,
anxiety, and nerves. Although medical experts testified McNutt had no
severe impairment, the Commissioner's ALJ identified ulow back pain" as a
severe impairment, determined McNutt could do some sedentary work, and
denied McNutt's applications. McNutt appeals. This Court must determine
whether- considering supporting and contrary evidence- substantial
evidence supports the Commissioner's decision. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d
1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000).
McNutt's arguments tum on an alleged visual impairment. He claims
his left eye is impaired by recurrent erosion syndrome. He maintains the ALJ
should have developed the record about his vision and considered it in
determining whether McNutt could work.
The evidence about recurrent erosion syndrome consists of an April
2010 eye examination and McNutt's September 2010 testimony that vision in
his left eye comes and goes. The examination report recorded unaided vision
of 20J40 in the left eye. The report reflected an uncertain diagnosis: "(?)
recurrent erosion syndrome." Tr. 281. The examining ophthalmologist
prescribed nonsteroidal eye drops and instructed McNutt to return in two
weeks. The record reflected no follow-up visit. Eleven weeks later, McNutt
reported no vision or eye problem to his primary care physician. The failure
to return to the ophthalmologist or complain further indicates McNutt's
vision problem resolved with treatment. The problem was therefore not
disabling because treatment controlled it. Estes v. Barnhart,275 F.3d 722,725
(8th Cir. 2002).
In addition, McNutt's vision problem did not meet the statutory
duration requirement. To serve as a basis for disability, an impairment must
last for twelve continuous months. 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A). McNutt
testified that his vision was good for two months, but gradually worsened
during the following four months.
Even if his vision deteriorated, no
evidence established visual impairment for twelve months.
As for the complaint about record development, the eye exam provided
sufficient information for determining whether McNutt was visually
impaired. Compare Barrett v. Shalala, 38 F.3d 1019, 1023 (8th Cir. 1994)
(requiring medical exams/tests if medical records do not provide sufficient
medical evidence to determine whether claimant is disabled).
identified depression, anxiety, and his back- not his vision- as his primary
reasons for disability. Substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's
decision that McNutt was not disabled. The Court affirms.
D.P. Marshall frO
United States District Judge
24 July 2013
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