Beck v. Colvin
ORDER affirming decision of Commissioner re 1 SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT Signed on 9/12/2017 by District Judge Roseann Ketchmark. (Stout, Courtney)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CAROLYN A. COLVIN1,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s appeal seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Defendant Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying disability insurance
benefits. The decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
Standard of Review
The Court’s review of the Commissioner’s decision to deny disability benefits is limited
to determining if the decision “complies with the relevant legal requirements and is supported by
substantial evidence in the record as a whole.”
Halverson v. Astrue, 600 F.3d 922, 929
(8th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ford v. Astrue, 518 F.3d 979, 981 (8th Cir. 2008)); see also
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance of the evidence, but is
‘such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind would find adequate to support the
Grable v. Colvin, 770 F.3d 1196, 1201 (8th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Davis v. Apfel, 239 F.3d 962, 966 (8th Cir. 2001)). In determining whether existing
evidence is substantial, the Court takes into account evidence that both supports and detracts
from the Administrative Law Judge’s (“ALJ”) findings. Cline v. Colvin, 771 F.3d 1098, 1102
(8th Cir. 2014) (quotation marks omitted). “If the ALJ’s decision is supported by substantial
evidence, [the Court] may not reverse even if substantial evidence would support the opposite
Nancy A. Berryhill became the Acting Commissioner of Social Security on January 23, 2017,
however for consistency purposes, the case style in this legal action remains as originally filed.
outcome or [the Court] would have decided differently.” Smith v. Colvin, 756 F.3d 621, 625
(8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Davis, 239 F.3d at 966). The Court does not re-weigh the evidence
presented to the ALJ.
Guilliams v. Barnhart, 393 F.3d 798, 801 (8th Cir. 2005)
(citing Baldwin v. Barnhart, 349 F.3d 549, 555 (8th Cir. 2003)).
The Court should “defer
heavily to the findings and conclusions of the [Commissioner].” Hurd v. Astrue, 621 F.3d 734,
738 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).
The ALJ determined that, although Plaintiff has medically determinable impairments, the
Plaintiff does not suffer from any severe impairments or combination of impairments that are
severe. Thus, the ALJ found the Plaintiff was not disabled as defined in the Social Security Act,
from June 9, 2012, the amended alleged onset date, through March 31, 2013, the date last insured
(20 C.F.R. §404.1520(c)).
On appeal, Plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) whether substantial evidence supports
the ALJ’s conclusion that Plaintiff’s physical impairments were not severe, and (2) whether the
ALJ appropriately concluded that Plaintiff’s subjective complaints of pain were not fully
First, substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s conclusion that Plaintiff’s physical
impairments were not severe. 20 C.F.R. §404.1521(a)(b)(1)-(6) (An impairment or combination
of impairments is severe if the impairment(s) significantly interferes with basic work tasks);
Martise v. Astrue, 641 F.3d 909, 907 (8th Cir. 2011) (An impairment must result from an
anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormality that can be shown by medical evidence
and not solely from Plaintiff’s subjective complaints). Here, Plaintiff’s main point of contention
is that the ALJ did not acknowledge the MRI; however, the ALJ is not required to repeat all
evidence from the written record in the decision.
Wildman v. Astrue, 596 F.3d 959, 966
(8th Cir. 2010). Plaintiff also argues a number of other smaller points, with which the Court also
disagrees with and for which the Court affirms the ALJ.
Accordingly, there is sufficient
evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s finding that Plaintiff’s impairments were not severe.
Second, substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s assessment that Plaintiff’s subjective
complaints were not fully credible. See Milam v. Colvin, 794 F.3d 978, 985 (8th Cir. 2015);
Perkins v. Astrue, 648 F.3d 892, 899-900 (8th Cir. 2011) (A history of limited and conservative
treatment undermines allegations of disabling symptoms); McDade v. Astrue, 720 F.3d 994, 998
(8th Cir. 2013) (substantial evidence supports ALJ in finding claimant not disabled where
claimant was not restricted in daily activities including: cooking, caring for pets, computer use,
and grocery shopping); Fredrickson v. Barnhart, 359 F.3d 972, 976 (8th Cir. 2004) (it was
proper for an ALJ to consider the Plaintiff’s sporadic work history and relatively low earnings as
a potential lack of motivation to gain employment). Here, the ALJ appropriately considered
Plaintiff’s limited and conservative medical treatment, daily activities, and work history with
relatively low earnings in making the credibility determination. Accordingly, there is sufficient
evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s finding that Plaintiff’s credibility was lacking. See
Bernard v. Colvin, 774 F.3d 482, 489 (8th Cir. 2014).
Having carefully reviewed the record before the Court and the parties’ submissions on
appeal, the Court concludes that substantial evidence on the record as a whole supports the ALJ’s
IT IS THEREFORE, ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
s/ Roseann A. Ketchmark
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DATED: September 12, 2017
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