United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
VOLPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
recommended disposition has been submitted to United States
District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. The parties may file
specific objections to these findings and recommendations and
must provide the factual or legal basis for each objection.
The objections must be filed with the Clerk no later than
fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and
recommendations. A copy must be served on the opposing party.
The District Judge, even in the absence of objections, may
reject these proposed findings and recommendations in whole
or in part.
April Benson, has appealed the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to deny
her claim for supplemental security income. Both parties have
submitted briefs and the case is ready for a decision. After
carefully considering the record as a whole, for the
following reasons, I find the decision of the Commissioner is
supported by substantial evidence.
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 free of legal error.
Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir.
2009); Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir.
1997); see also 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
1383(c)(3). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); Reynolds v. Chater, 82 F.3d 254, 257 (8th
assessing the substantiality of the evidence, courts must
consider evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's
decision as well as evidence that supports it; a court may
not, however, reverse the Commissioner's decision merely
because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite
decision. Sultan v. Barnhart, 368 F.3d 857, 863 (8th
Cir. 2004); Woolf v. Shalala, 3 F.3d 1210, 1213 (8th
was twenty-eight years old at the time of the hearing. (Tr.
33.) She testified she had an eleventh grade education. (Tr.
34.) She has past work as a restaurant worker and school
laborer. (Tr. 165.)
alleges she is disabled due to back problems, lupus, and
anxiety. (Tr. 164, 210.) The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
found Ms. Benson had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since March 1, 2013. (Tr. 17.) At step two, the ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff had no “impairment or
combination of impairments that has significantly limited (or
is expected to significantly limit) the ability to perform
basic work-related activities for 12 consecutive months;
therefore, the claimant does not have a severe impairment or
combination of impairments.” (Tr. 17.) Accordingly, the
ALJ concluded Plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 22.)
support of her Complaint, Plaintiff argues the ALJ
incorrectly concluded his analysis at step two and determined
she did not have any “severe” impairments.
(Pl.'s Br. 5-9.) She argues, “The ALJ's failure
to find any impairment severe is harmful error, as it
prevented the ALJ from proceeding with the rest of the
required sequential evaluation. (Id. at 5.)
has the burden of proving her impairment is
“severe.” See Nguyen v. Chater, 75 F.3d
429, 431 (8th Cir. 1995). To prove a severe impairment, a
claimant must show she is significantly limited in her
ability to do basic work activities. Browning v.
Sullivan, 958 F.2d 817, 821 (8th Cir. 1992). It has
“more than a minimal effect on the claimant's
ability to work.” Hudson v. Bowen, 870 F.2d
1392, 1396 (8th Cir. 1989).
claimant's impairments are not severe when:
(a) Non-severe impairment(s). An impairment or
combination of impairments is not severe if it does not
significantly limit your physical or mental ability to do
basic work activities.
(b) Basic work activities. When we talk about basic
work activities, we mean the abilities and aptitudes
necessary to do most ...