United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
CHRISTOPHER S. ANTHONY PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
ERIN L. SETSER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Christopher S. Anthony, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying his claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental
security income benefits (SSI) under the provisions of Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). In this judicial
review, the Court must determine whether there is substantial
evidence in the administrative record to support the
Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C.
filed his applications for DIB and SSI on April 18, 2013,
alleging an inability to work since November 18, 1983, due to
Asperger's Syndrome; Sensory Intergrative Dysfunction;
Developmentally delayed; Developmental reading disorder; and
Dyslexia. (Doc. 12, pp. 216-228, 278, 283). An administrative
hearing was held on May 21, 2014, at which Plaintiff appeared
with counsel, and he and his mother testified. (Doc. 12, pp.
written decision dated September 11, 2014, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe -
Asperger's syndrome/autism. (Doc. 12, p. 21). However,
after reviewing all of the evidence presented, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or
equal the level of severity of any impairment listed in the
Listing of Impairments found in Appendix I, Subpart P,
Regulation No. 4. (Doc. 12, p. 21). The ALJ found Plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonexertional limitations: the claimant
can perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks, in a
setting where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work
performed. In addition, the claimant can respond to
supervision that is simple, direct, and concrete.
(Doc. 12, p. 22). With the help of the vocational expert
(VE), the ALJ determined that during the relevant time
period, Plaintiff would not be able to perform his past
relevant work, but there were other jobs Plaintiff would be
able to perform, such as bundle clerk, laundry worker, and
dining room bus person. (Doc. 12, p. 22).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which considered additional information and
denied that request on July 7, 2015. (Doc. 12, pp. 6-10).
Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc. 1). This
case is before the undersigned pursuant to the consent of the
parties. (Doc. 6). Both parties have filed appeal briefs, and
the case is now ready for decision. (Docs. 10, 11).
Court has reviewed the entire transcript. The complete set of
facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs,
and are repeated here only to the extent necessary.
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002).
Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance but it is
enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to
support the Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's
decision must be affirmed if the record contains substantial
evidence to support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314
F.3d 964, 966 (8th Cir. 2003). As long as there is
substantial evidence in the record that supports the
Commissioner's decision, the Court may not reverse it
simply because substantial evidence exists in the record that
would have supported a contrary outcome, or because the Court
would have decided the case differently. Haley v.
Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001).
In other words, if after reviewing the record, it is possible
to draw two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one
of those positions represents the findings of the ALJ, the
decision of the ALJ must be affirmed. Young v.
Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his disability
by establishing a physical or mental disability that has
lasted at least one year and that prevents him from engaging
in any substantial gainful activity. Pearsall v.
Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir.
2001); see also 42 U.S.C. §423(d)(1)(A). The
Act defines “physical or mental impairment” as
“an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C.
§§423(d)(3). A Plaintiff must show that his
disability, not simply his impairment, has lasted for at
least twelve consecutive months.
Commissioner's regulations require him to apply a
five-step sequential evaluation process to each claim for
disability benefits: (1) whether the claimant had engaged in
substantial gainful activity since filing his claim; (2)
whether the claimant had a severe physical and/or mental
impairment or combination of impairments; (3) whether the
impairment(s) met or equaled an impairment in the listings;
(4) whether the impairment(s) prevented the claimant from
doing past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant was
able to perform other work in the national economy given his
age, education, and experience. See 20 C.F.R.
§§404.1520, 416.920 Only if the final stage is
reached does the fact finder consider the Plaintiff's
age, education, and work experience in light of his RFC.
See McCoy v. Schneider, 683 F.2d 1138, 1141-42
(8th Cir. 1982); 20 C.F.R. §§404.1520,
416.920, abrogated on other grounds by Higgins v.
Apfel, 222 F.3d 504, 505 (8th Cir. 2000); 20 C.F.R.