Submitted: October 20, 2015
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Davenport
MURPHY, COLLOTON, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
Julin appeals the judgment of the district
court upholding the Social Security
Commissioner's denial of her application for supplemental
security income. We affirm.
December 2009, Julin applied for disability insurance
benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 423, and for supplemental security income under Title
XVI of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1382. She claimed a
disability onset date of February 15, 2004. Julin based her
claims of disability on depression, anxiety, and
obsessive-compulsive disorder. Julin alleged that these
conditions caused her difficulties with maintaining focus,
energy, concentration, social interactions, and a regular
Social Security Administration denied Julin's claims
initially and on reconsideration, so Julin requested a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ").
After a hearing in July 2011, the ALJ found that Julin was
not disabled and affirmed the denial of Julin's
applications. On administrative appeal, the Appeals Council
remanded the case. The Council instructed the ALJ to evaluate
further the opinions of Julin's treating physician, Dr.
Welsh, and Julin's residual functional capacity
("RFC"). The Council provided that, if necessary,
the ALJ should acquire additional medical evidence.
hearing in July 2013 and review of all the evidence, the ALJ
again denied Julin's application. Applying the five-step
sequential evaluation process used to evaluate whether a
claimant is disabled, see 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520, 416.920; see also Bowen v. Yuckert, 482
U.S. 137, 140-42 (1987), the ALJ determined at step one that
Julin had not engaged in "substantial gainful
activity" since February 15, 2004. At steps two and
three, the ALJ concluded that although Julin suffered from
severe impairments-depressive disorder, anxiety disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a history of marijuana
abuse-the impairments did not meet or equal the severity of
any listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
then determined Julin's residual functional capacity for
purposes of steps four and five. The ALJ found that while
Julin had the capacity "to perform a full range of work
at all exertional levels, " she had several
nonexertional limitations. The ALJ stated that Julin's
residual functional capacity was "limited to tasks that
can be learned in thirty days or less involving no more than
simple work-related decisions with few work place changes; no
more than occasional, brief, and superficial interaction with
the public, co-workers, and supervisors; and no work at
production rate pace."
submitted Julin's RFC in the form of a hypothetical
question to a vocational expert. The expert believed that
Julin could not return to any of her past positions of
employment but was capable of performing other jobs that
exist in significant numbers in the national economy. The ALJ
therefore concluded that Julin was not disabled and denied
the application for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income.
appealed, and the Appeals Council denied Julin's request
for review. Julin then sought review in the district court,
appealing only the denial of supplemental security income
based on an alleged onset date of December 21, 2009. The
district court upheld the ALJ's decision. Julin appeals,
arguing that the record does not support the ALJ's
review de novo the district court's judgment
upholding the denial of social security benefits. Carlson
v. Astrue, 604 F.3d 589, 592 (8th Cir. 2010). We will
affirm the district court's decision if, based on the
record as a whole, substantial evidence supports the
ALJ's determination. Id. "Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
ALJ's decision." Id. (quoting Gonzales
v. Barnhart, 465 F.3d 890, 894 (8th Cir. 2006)). We
consider evidence that supports the Commissioner's
conclusion, as well as evidence that detracts from it, and we
review any legal conclusions de novo. Id.
makes three principal arguments on appeal: that no medical
evidence supported the ALJ's determination of residual
functional capacity; that the ALJ erred in weighing the
medical opinions in the record; and that the ALJ improperly
found that Julin lacked credibility. The three issues are
interrelated. The ALJ's decision to discount Julin's
credibility influenced the ALJ's weighing of medical
opinions that were based in part on Julin's reports, and
the ALJ's evaluation of the medical opinions informs
whether medical evidence supported the ...