Ward v. Astrue
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is reversed and this matter is remanded pursuant to the fourth sentence of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further proceedings.. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 1/31/14. (KKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
KEVIN M. WARD,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,1 Acting
Commissioner of Social Security,
Case No. 2:13-CV-12 (CEJ)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court for review of an adverse ruling by the Social
I. Procedural History
On March 2, 2009, plaintiff Kevin M. Ward filed applications for supplemental
security income, Title XVI, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381 et seq., and disability insurance benefits,
Title II, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq., with an alleged onset date of January 1, 2006. (Tr.
164-70). After plaintiff’s applications were denied on initial consideration (Tr. 48-50,
63-72), he requested a hearing beforean Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). (Tr. 75-76).
Plaintiff and counsel appeared for a hearing on June 5, 2012. (Tr. 27-47).2 On
August 17, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled
through the date he was last insured.
The Appeals Council denied
Carolyn W. Colvin became the Acting Commissioner of Social Security on
February 14, 2013. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d), she is substituted for Michael J.
Astrue as the defendant in this case.
Plaintiff was initially scheduled to appear for a hearing on November 25, 2009,
via video teleconference. (Tr. 83-106). However, on November 17, 2009, plaintiff’s
counsel filed requests for an in-person hearing. (Tr. 109-11). Counsel was instructed
to appear at the hearing but did not do so, and the ALJ dismissed the request for
hearing. (Tr. 298, 51-55). The Appeals Council remanded on April 1, 2011. (Tr. 5758). On July 7, 2011, plaintiff again requested an in-person hearing. (Tr. 120).
plaintiff’s request for review on December 4, 2012. (Tr. 1-6). Accordingly, the ALJ’s
decision stands as the Commissioner’s final decision.
II. Evidence Before the ALJ
A. Disability Application Documents
In his Disability Report (Tr. 210-20), plaintiff listed his disabling conditions as
diabetes, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, mood disorder, numbness in his feet,
and blurred vision. He stated that he could “do less and less” and often did not leave
the house. (Tr. 211). Work and social environments caused him stress and he could
not cope with people. He suffered from mood swings and outbursts, and often felt
anxious and depressed. Plaintiff was prescribed Novolin to treat diabetes and Celexa
to treat his bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. (Tr. 217).
Plaintiff reported that he worked as a laborer for a manufacturer for one month
in 1999 and was self-employed as a laborer from 2001 through 2004. (Tr. 221). After
his alleged onset date of January 1, 2006, plaintiff had four brief periods of
employment as a cook and as a laborer. Some of these positions required him to
stand and walk all day and lift up to 50 pounds.
See, e.g., Tr. 222 (describing
activities for 2008 cook position). Plaintiff had recorded earnings each year between
1996 and 2011, never earning more than $5,200 in a single year.3 (Tr. 187).
Plaintiff completed a Function Report on August 16, 2009. (Tr. 238-48). His
daily activities included watching television, cleaning house, taking a nap, visiting with
friends, and looking for employment. He ate three meals a day and checked his blood
sugar levels throughout the day. He took care of his pets and occasionally watched
A detailed earnings query lists 37 periods of employment between 1996 and
2008. (Tr. 181-86).
friends’ children. He spent between 1 and 3 hours cooking for himself every day, and
was able to clean his house and do outside work. As a result of his illnesses he could
no longer stand on his feet for long periods of time and was afraid of going out in
public. He needed reminders to take his medicine and keep his appointments. He did
not have a valid driver’s license and so walked or was driven. He went shopping once
a month to buy food and clothes.
He was able to pay bills, handle a checkbook and
savings account, and count change.
His hobbies included video games, fishing,
drawing, and enjoying the outdoors, but he was too depressed and anxious to go
anywhere. He spent time with others once or twice a week, but only in someone else’s
Plaintiff had difficulties with standing, climbing stairs, squatting, walking,
kneeling, seeing and getting along with others. He could walk for about an hour before
needing to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. He could follow written and spoken instructions
very well. He was fired for arguing with co-workers and did not handle stress or
changes in routine well. He worried that people were talking about him or trying to
Melissa Lynn Dunning and Lena Thomas completed Third Party Function Reports.
(Tr. 249-57, 294-96). Ms. Dunning stated that plaintiff lived in her home, formerly as
her boyfriend, but presently as a friend. Her statements were consistent with those
plaintiff made in his report. Ms. Thomas stated that plaintiff always thought that
people were talking about him and became nervous and agitated. He would become
depressed and his diabetes suffered. He had difficulty walking because of pain in his
B. Hearing on June 5, 2012
Plaintiff was 31 years old and unmarried at the time of the hearing.
graduated from high school. He had a six-year-old son who was in foster care at the
time of the hearing but was expected to be returned to his mother’s custody. (Tr. 31).
Plaintiff was in jail between December 2010 and March 2011 on charges of domestic
assault. (Tr. 35).
In late 2006, plaintiff worked 30 hours a week as a cook and dishwasher. (Tr.
16, 33). From July to August 2007, he worked 40 hours a week as a laborer. (Tr. 16).
He lost this job when he had to be hospitalized. (Tr. 34); see also Work Activity Report
(indicating plaintiff left this job due to his medical condition). (Tr. 198). He worked
20 hours a week as a cook from October to November 2007. In 2008, he worked as
a cook at a dinette until June 24, 2008, when he was let go for missing work due to his
medical condition. (Tr. 34, 185, 197). His last position was as a cook in August 2011.
That job ended because the business closed. (Tr. 32).
Plaintiff was in jail between December 2010 and March 2011 on an assault
charge. (Tr. 35). Plaintiff testified that this was the only time he had been in jail since
January 2006; however, medical records show that he had hospital admissions in
September 2008 and February 2010 as a result of not receiving his insulin while “in
jail.” (Tr. 355, 748).
Plaintiff testified that he was first diagnosed with Type I diabetes in September
1993 and had been on insulin ever since.
He experienced diabetic
ketoacidosis at least once or twice a week but was generally able to control it. If his
efforts did not succeed in lowering his blood sugar, he sought treatment at the
emergency room. (Tr. 46). This occurred every one or two months. There was no
indication that plaintiff was failing to follow his diet or medication regimen. (Tr. 37-
38). Plaintiff testified that he had always experienced episodes of high blood sugar
levels and that his condition had deteriorated over time. In particular, his eyesight and
neuropathy had worsened. (Tr. 39).
Plaintiff testified that he was first hospitalized for psychological problems when
he was 15. (Tr. 40). In 2007 or 2008, he was hospitalized again and diagnosed with
bipolar disorder. His symptoms included feeling depressed and wanting to hurt himself
or someone else. He attended outpatient treatment for three or four sessions but had
to stop when his funding ran out.
In addition to medication for treatment of diabetes, plaintiff was prescribed
Lamictal for bipolar disorder, Wellbutrin, Seroquel, and Celexa for mood disorders, and
Neurontin for neuropathy. (Tr. 37).
Bob Hammond, a vocational expert, provided testimony regarding the
employment opportunities for a younger individual under the age of 50 with a 12th
grade education, who was limited to light work, and needed to avoid exposure to
extreme heat, unprotected heights, and moving machinery, and who should have no
more than superficial interaction with co-workers and supervisors. (Tr. 42-43). Mr.
Hammond opined that such an individual would be able to perform work as an
assembler. However, a worker could not be absent from these jobs more often than
1.5 days a month following a probationary period of 90 days. Before 90 days, a worker
would not be allowed any absences. (Tr. 44).
C. Medical Records
In January, February, June, and August 2005, and in May 2006, plaintiff had
blood tests and diagnostic scans at the Hannibal Regional Hospital emergency room.
(Tr. 444-72). The results of those tests were printed in 2009 and are included in the
record, but the underlying treatment notes are absent. On these occasions, plaintiff
was treated for high glucose levels and, occasionally, abdominal pain.
On September 22, 2006, plaintiff was hospitalized for treatment of diabetic
ketoacidosis, secondary to gastroenteritis with volume depletion. (Tr. 417-43). He
reported that he had had flu-like symptoms for two or three days and that his girlfriend
had similar symptoms. (Tr. 423). He had been feeling ill for about a month, with
coughing, sneezing and abdominal pain. He could not afford regular medical treatment
and did not have a physician. (Tr. 420).
Plaintiff next received medical care in June 2007, when he was again admitted
to the hospital with abdominal pain. (Tr. 391-416). Plaintiff reported that he had not
had any episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis since his last admission in September 2006,
despite failing to follow through with outpatient treatment as recommended. (Tr. 394,
397). It was noted that he had had pancreatitis in the past. (Tr. 391). On June 11,
2007, plaintiff was diagnosed with biliary dyskinesia and underwent laparoscopic
removal of his gallbladder.
(Tr. 400-01, 410).
At a postoperative follow-up
appointment on June 18, 2007, plaintiff reported vast improvement in his symptoms.
The medical record contains laboratory reports for treatment plaintiff received
in the emergency room in March 2008 (Tr. 386-89 -- showing elevated blood sugar
levels); April 2008 (Tr. 382-83 -- presented with nausea and vomiting; had elevated
blood sugar levels); June 2008 (Tr. 381 -- x-ray of right foot following a fall); August
1, 2008 (Tr. 597 -- laceration to right knee); and August 31, 2008 (Tr. 378-80 -elevated blood sugar levels). The
treatment notes for these admissions are not
included in the record.
On September 1, 2008, plaintiff was involuntarily admitted to the Metropolitan
St. Louis Psychiatric Center after making suicidal statements in the midst of a family
On admission, he was sluggish, evasive about drug use,
negativistic and frustrated. (Tr. 341). He had no prior psychiatric contact. (Tr. 344).
Plaintiff reported that he had significant anger problems, but denied that he ever
wanted to kill himself.
Plaintiff’s diagnoses at discharge were depression, not
otherwise specified; cannabis abuse; and personality disorder, not otherwise specified;
and a Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score of 65. (Tr. 350). Plaintiff was
discharged with a prescription for the antidepressant Citalopram. (Tr. 349). Plaintiff
kept two outpatient counseling sessions at the Mark Twain Behavioral Health Center.
(Tr. 474, 475).
Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis on
September 24, 2008. (Tr. 354-69). He had been in a fight the night before and was
treated at the emergency room for a knife cut to his neck before being taken to jail.
(Tr. 358). He did not receive any insulin for 24 hours and became ill. He was returned
to the emergency room.
Plaintiff began receiving outpatient treatment at the Hannibal Free Clinic. (Tr.
481-83; 478-79). He had a number of hospital admissions for treatment of diabetic
ketoacidosis in 2009 and 2010. See e.g., Tr. 510-84; 666-67; 659-63. He also started
reporting more psychiatric symptoms, including panic attacks. See, e.g., Tr. 677, 739,
On April 8, 2009, Marsha Toll, Psy.D., completed a Psychiatric Review Technique.
(Tr. 488-502). Dr. Toll concluded that plaintiff had medically determinable diagnoses
of depression not otherwise specified, personality disorder not otherwise specified, and
Plaintiff had moderate difficulties in maintaining concentration,
persistence or pace and one or two episodes of decompensation. In a narrative
section, Dr. Toll noted that plaintiff did not receive any psychiatric treatment between
his alleged onset date, January 1, 2006, and his last date of insured status, June 30,
2008. (Tr. 498). She found that plaintiff retained the ability to understand, remember
and carry out simple instructions, maintain adequate attendance and sustain an
ordinary work routine without special supervision, interact adequately with peers and
supervisors in a setting with limited demands for social interaction, and adapt to minor
changes in the work setting. (Tr. 502).
III. The ALJ’s Decision
In the decision issued on August 17, 2012, the ALJ made the following findings:
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act
through June 30, 2008.
Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1,
2006, the alleged onset date.
Since the alleged onset date, plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: diabetes mellitus Type I, depression, and personality
Since the alleged onset date, plaintiff does not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that meets or substantially equals one of the
listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
Prior to August 31, 2008, plaintiff had the residual functional capacity to
perform lift and carry 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally.
He had the capacity to sit, stand, and walk 6 hours of an 8-hour workday.
He could not work in environments with prolonged exposure to extreme
heat and could not work around unprotected heights or moving
equipment. He was limited to superficial interactions with co-worker and
supervisors (meaning no negotiation, confrontation, arbitration or
supervision of others) and could have no direct interaction with the
Beginning on August 31, 2008, plaintiff had the same residual functional
capacity described above, but in addition would be absent more than one
and one half days per month on average per year.
Since January 1, 2006, plaintiff has been unable to perform any past
Prior to the established disability onset date, plaintiff was a younger
Plaintiff has at least a high school education and can communicate in
Prior to August 31, 3008, transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as
a framework supports a finding of “not disabled” whether or not plaintiff
has transferable job skills. Beginning on August 31, 2008, plaintiff has
not been able to transfer job skills to other occupations.
Prior to August 31, 2008, considering plaintiff’s age, education, work
experience and residual functional capacity, there were jobs that existed
in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could have
Beginning on August 31, 2008, considering plaintiff’s age, education,
work experience and residual functional capacity, there are no jobs that
exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can
Plaintiff was not disabled prior to August 31, 2008, but became disabled
on that date and continued to be disabled through the date of the
Plaintiff was not under a disability within the meaning of the Social
Security Act at any time through June 30, 2008, the date he was last
IV. Legal Standards
The Court must affirm the Commissioner’s decision “if the decision is not based
on legal error and if there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support
the conclusion that the claimant was not disabled.” Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187
(8th Cir. 1997). “Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough so
that a reasonable mind might find it adequate to support the conclusion.” Estes v.
Barnhart, 275 F.3d 722, 724 (8th Cir. 2002) (quoting Johnson v. Apfel, 240 F.3d 1145,
1147 (8th Cir. 2001)). If, after reviewing the record, the Court finds it possible to
draw two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one of those positions
represents the Commissioner’s findings, the Court must affirm the decision of the
Commissioner. Buckner v. Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 556 (8th Cir. 2011) (quotations and
To be entitled to disability benefits, a claimant must prove he is unable to
perform any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable physical or
mental impairment that would either result in death or which has lasted or could be
expected to last for at least twelve continuous months. 42 U.S.C. § 423(a)(1)(D),
(d)(1)(A); Pate-Fires v. Astrue, 564 F.3d 935, 942 (8th Cir. 2009). The Commissioner
has established a five-step process for determining whether a person is disabled. See
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520; Moore v. Astrue, 572 F.3d 520, 523 (8th Cir. 2009). “Each step
in the disability determination entails a separate analysis and legal standard.” Lacroix
v. Barnhart, 465 F.3d 881, 888 n.3 (8th Cir. 2006).
Steps one through three require the claimant to prove (1) he is not currently
engaged in substantial gainful activity, (2) he suffers from a severe impairment, and
(3) his disability meets or equals a listed impairment. Pate-Fires, 564 F.3d at 942. If
the claimant does not suffer from a listed impairment or its equivalent, the
Commissioner’s analysis proceeds to steps four and five. Id.
“Prior to step four, the ALJ must assess the claimant’s residual functioning
capacity (‘RFC’), which is the most a claimant can do despite her limitations.” Moore,
572 F.3d at 523 (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(1)).
“RFC is an administrative
assessment of the extent to which an individual’s medically determinable
impairment(s), including any related symptoms, such as pain, may cause physical or
mental limitations or restrictions that may affect his or her capacity to do work-related
physical and mental activities.” Social Security Ruling (SSR) 96-8p, 1996 WL 374184,
*2. “[A] claimant’s RFC [is] based on all relevant evidence, including the medical
records, observations by treating physicians and others, and an individual’s own
description of his limitations.”
Moore, 572 F.3d at 523 (quotation and citation
In determining a claimant’s RFC, the ALJ must evaluate the claimant’s credibility.
Wagner v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 842, 851 (8th Cir. 2007); Pearsall v. Massanari, 274 F.3d
1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2002). This evaluation requires that the ALJ consider “(1) the
claimant’s daily activities; (2) the duration, intensity, and frequency of the pain; (3)
the precipitating and aggravating factors; (4) the dosage, effectiveness, and side
effects of medication; (5) any functional restrictions; (6) the claimant’s work history;
and (7) the absence of objective medical evidence to support the claimant’s
complaints.” Buckner v. Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 558 (8th Cir. 2011) (quotation and
citation omitted). “Although ‘an ALJ may not discount a claimant’s allegations of
disabling pain solely because the objective medical evidence does not fully support
them,’ the ALJ may find that these allegations are not credible ‘if there are
inconsistencies in the evidence as a whole.’” Id. (quoting Goff v. Barnhart, 421 F.3d
785, 792 (8th Cir. 2005)). After considering the seven factors, the ALJ must make
express credibility determinations and set forth the inconsistencies in the record which
caused the ALJ to reject the claimant’s complaints. Singh v. Apfel, 222 F.3d 448, 452
(8th Cir. 2000); Beckley v. Apfel, 152 F.3d 1056, 1059 (8th Cir. 1998).
At step four, the ALJ determines whether claimant can return to his past
relevant work, “review[ing] [the claimant’s] [RFC] and the physical and mental
demands of the work [claimant has] done in the past.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e). The
burden at step four remains with the claimant to prove his RFC and establish that he
cannot return to his past relevant work. Moore, 572 F.3d at 523; accord Dukes v.
Barnhart, 436 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2006); Vandenboom v. Barnhart, 421 F.3d 745,
750 (8th Cir. 2005).
If the ALJ holds at step four of the process that a claimant cannot return to past
relevant work, the burden shifts at step five to the Commissioner to establish that the
claimant maintains the RFC to perform a significant number of jobs within the national
economy. Banks v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 820, 824 (8th Cir. 2001). See also 20 C.F.R.
If the claimant is prevented by his impairment from doing any other work, the
ALJ will find the claimant to be disabled.
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in establishing the disability onset date;
incorrectly determined plaintiff’s residual functional capacity (RFC) prior to the disability
onset date; and made errors in his credibility determination.
A. Disability Onset Date
The ALJ determined that plaintiff’s disability onset date was August 31, 2008,
two months after the expiration of insured status on June 30, 2008. Plaintiff argues
that the ALJ failed to follow Social Security Ruling 83-20 (SSR 83-20) in determining
the onset date of disability.
See Titles II & XVI: Onset of Disability, 1983-1991
Soc.Sec.Rep.Serv. 49, 1983 WL 31249 (S.S.A. 1983).
In order to receive disability insurance benefits, a claimant must show the onset
of disability before the expiration of insured status. Pyland v. Apfel, 149 F.3d 873, 876
(8th Cir. 1998). SSR 83-20 is a statement of the policy and process for determining
the onset date of disability, and enumerates a number of factors to be considered,
including a claimant’s allegations, work history, and medical evidence. Schmick v.
Astrue, 1:07CV69 HEA, 2008 WL 4402204, at *14 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 24, 2008) (citing
SSR 83-20 at *1).
In disabilities of nontraumatic origin, the determination of onset involves
consideration of the applicant’s allegations, work history, if any, and the medical
and other evidence concerning impairment severity. The weight to be given any
of the relevant evidence depends on the individual case.
1. Applicant Allegations: The starting point in determining the date of onset of
disability is the individual’s statement as to when disability began. . .
2. Work History: The day the impairment caused the individual to stop work is
frequently of great significance in selecting the proper onset date. . .
3. Medical and Other Evidence: Medical reports containing descriptions of
examinations or treatment of the individual are basic to the determination of the
onset of disability. The medical evidence serves as the primary element in the
onset determination. . .
SSR 83-20 at *2.
Particularly in the case of slowly progressive impairments, it is not
necessary for an impairment to have reached listing severity (i.e., be
decided on medical grounds alone) before onset can be established. In
such cases, consideration of vocational factors can contribute to the
determination of when the disability began. . .
In determining the date of onset of disability, the date alleged by the
individual should be used if it is consistent with all the evidence available.
When the medical or work evidence is not consistent with the allegation,
additional development may be needed to reconcile the discrepancy.
However, the established onset date must be fixed based on the facts
and can never be inconsistent with the medical evidence of record.
SSR 83-20 at *2-3.
How long the disease may be determined to have existed at a disabling
level of severity depends on an informed judgment of the facts in the
particular case. This judgment, however, must have a legitimate medical
basis. At the hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) should call on
the services of a medical advisor when onset must be inferred. If there
is information in the file indicating that additional medical evidence
concerning onset is available, such evidence should be secured before
inferences are made.
Id. at *3.
Plaintiff alleged disability beginning on January 1, 2006.
The ALJ properly
discounted this date of onset after reviewing the treatment record, as there was no
evidence of medical treatment related to plaintiff’s disabling conditions until September
2006 when he was hospitalized for diabetic ketoacidosis secondary to viral
gastroenteritis. “[T]he individual’s allegation [of date of onset] . . . is significant in
determining onset only if it is consistent with the severity of the condition(s) shown by
the medical evidence.” Id. at *1.
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ ignored medical evidence that is relevant to
determining his onset date.
In particular, he argues that the ALJ should have
considered the significance of his elevated blood sugar levels in March and April 2008.
Defendant contends that the ALJ properly addressed the occasional high blood sugar
levels by including environmental restrictions in the RFC determination. This argument
misses the point. The blood tests were taken in the course of admissions to the
Hannibal Regional Hospital emergency department, but there is no information
regarding plaintiff’s presenting complaints or the diagnostic impression, and it is not
possible to know how serious plaintiff’s medical condition was at the time of these
admissions. Furthermore, the sole difference between plaintiff’s RFC before and after
August 31, 2008, is the number of days per month plaintiff was likely to be absent
from work. Compare Tr. 15 and 17. The ALJ found that plaintiff “visited the hospital
more often” after August 2008 and that, “by August 31, 2008, the [plaintiff’s]
conditions required a great deal more treatment, which translates to more absenteeism
at the work place.”
But, there is evidence that plaintiff had hospital
treatment before August 31, 2008.
Furthermore, plaintiff stated that he lost
employment on June 24, 2008, because of his medical condition.
(Tr. 34, 197).
Plaintiff’s absenteeism was the determinative factor in the ALJ’s decision regarding the
onset of disability and it was error not to address the records from March and April
2008. Consequently, this matter must be remanded. On remand, the ALJ should also
address the records from 2005 and May 2006.
On remand, it may be necessary to obtain additional medical records or an
expert opinion. “If the medical evidence is ambiguous and a retroactive inference is
necessary, SSR 83–20 requires the ALJ to call upon the services of a medical advisor
to insure that the determination of onset is based upon a ‘legitimate medical basis.’”
Grebenick v. Chater, 121 F.3d 1193, 1201 (8th Cir. 1997). See also DeLorme v.
Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 848 (9th Cir. 1991) (“In the event that the medical evidence
is not definite concerning the onset date and medical inferences need to be made, SSR
83–20 requires the administrative law judge to call upon the services of a medical
advisor and to obtain all evidence which is available to make the determination.”)
Plaintiff also argues that he was disabled due to his mental illness before August
There is no evidence of inpatient or outpatient treatment before his
involuntary commitment on September 1, 2008. Plaintiff testified that he had been
diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 15, but he denied prior psychiatric treatment
during his admission to the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center.
determination that plaintiff’s mental health was not disabling before August 31, 2008,
is supported by substantial evidence in the record.
B. The RFC Determination and Credibility Assessment
Plaintiff’s challenges to the ALJ’s RFC determination and credibility assessment
focus on the ALJ’s consideration for his potential for absenteeism before August 31,
2008. That issue has been addressed above and further discussion is not warranted.
For the reasons discussed above, the Court finds that the Commissioner’s
decision is not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is reversed
and this matter is remanded pursuant to the fourth sentence of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
for further proceedings.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 31st day of January, 2014.
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