United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Northern Division
RONNIE C. ELROD PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
Ronnie C. Elrod, applied for supplemental security income
benefits (“SSI”) on March 24, 2014, alleging his
disability began on June 1, 2012. (Tr. at 10). His
claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
Id. After conducting a hearing, the Administrative
Law Judge (AALJ") denied his application. (Tr. at 20).
The Appeals Council denied his request for review. (Tr. at
1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision
of the Commissioner, and Elrod has requested judicial review.
reasons stated below, the Court affirms the decision of the
The Commissioner's Decision:
an SSI claim only, which means that the relevant period
begins on March 24, 2014, the application date, and runs
through the date of the hearing decision, September 10, 2015.
(Tr. at 11).
found that Elrod had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the application date (Tr. at 13). At Step Two
of the five-step analysis, the ALJ found that Elrod has the
following severe impairments: chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease; emphysema, degenerative disc disease, and arthritic
pain in the hands and hips. Id.
finding that Elrod's impairments did not meet or equal a
listed impairment (Tr. at 13), the ALJ determined that Elrod
had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform the full range of light work, except that: (1) he
could only occasionally bend, stoop, crouch, kneel, crawl,
and balance; (2) he would not be able to tolerate excessive
exposure to dust, smoke, fumes, and other pulmonary
irritants; (3) he would be limited to frequent fingering and
handling in the upper extremities; and (4) he could perform
work that is simple, routine, and repetitive with supervision
that is simple, direct, and concrete. (Tr. at 14). Next, the
ALJ found that Elrod was not capable of performing any past
relevant work. (Tr. at 19). At Step Five, the ALJ relied on
the testimony of a Vocational Expert (“VE”) to
find that, based on Elrod's age, education, work
experience and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in
the national economy that he could perform at the light level
with the added limitations, specifically, cashier II and
product assembler. (Tr. at 20). Based on that Step Five
determination, the ALJ held that Elrod was not disabled.
Standard of Review
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 Asubstantial evidence" is that which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion, Asubstantial evidence on the record as a
whole" requires a court to engage in a more scrutinizing
[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, Amerely
because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite
Reed v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 917, 920 (8th Cir. 2005)
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 ...