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Coleman v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division

September 28, 2016

DONALD COLEMAN PLAINTIFF
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          ORDER

         On March 12, 2012, Plaintiff, Donald Coleman (“Coleman”), applied for disability insurance benefits, supplemental security income, and child's insurance benefits, alleging a disability onset date of April 10, 1992. (Tr. at 19). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied his application. (Tr. at 19-32). The Appeals Council denied Coleman's request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner, and Coleman has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, the Court[1] affirms the decision of the Commissioner.

         I. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Coleman had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date. (Tr. at 22). The ALJ found at Step Two that Coleman had the following severe impairments: gunshot wound to the back, anxiety/depression, borderline intellectual functioning, and adjustment disorder with anxiety. Id. At Step Three, the ALJ determined that Coleman's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment. (Tr. at 23).

         Before proceeding to Step Four, the ALJ determined that Coleman had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work except for the following limitations: 1) no more than frequent overhead reaching with the right upper extremity; 2) no more than occasional changes to the workplace setting; 3) interpersonal contact that is only incidental to the work performed; 4) 1-2 step tasks that can be learned by rote with few variables and little judgment; 5) simple, direct, and concrete supervision; 6) SVP 1 or 2 jobs that can be learned in 30 days; 7) reasoning levels of 1 or 2. (Tr. at 26). Based on those limitations, the ALJ found that Coleman is incapable of performing past relevant work (Tr. at 30).

         Considering Coleman's age, education, work experience, and residual functioning capacity, the ALJ concluded at Step Five that there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Coleman could perform. (Tr. at 31). Thus, the ALJ held that Coleman was not disabled. (Tr. at 32).

         II. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court's function on review is to determine whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole and whether it is based on legal error. Miller v. Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477 (8th Cir. 2015); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). While “substantial evidence” is that which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, “substantial evidence on the record as a whole” requires a court to engage in a more scrutinizing analysis:

         “[O]ur review is more than an examination of the record for the existence of

substantial evidence in support of the Commissioner's decision; we also take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from that decision.” Reversal is not warranted, however, “merely because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite decision.”

Reed v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 917, 920 (8th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted).

         It is not the task of this Court to review the evidence and make an independent decision. Neither is it to reverse the decision of the ALJ because there is evidence in the record which contradicts his findings. The test is whether there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole which supports the decision of the ALJ. Miller, 784 F.3d at 477. The Court has ...


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