United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
Connie Childress, applied for disability benefits on November
12, 2014, alleging her disability began on October 10,
2014. (Tr. at 70). Her claims were denied initially
and upon reconsideration. Id. After conducting a
hearing, the Administrative Law Judge
(''ALJ'') denied Childress's application.
(Tr. at 79). The Appeals Council denied her request for
review (Tr. at 1), thereby making the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. Childress has requested
reasons stated below, the Court affirms the decision of the
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Childress had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 10, 2014, her alleged onset date. (Tr.
at 72). She continues to work part time as a server at
Cracker Barrel, but her earnings do not meet the substantial
gainful activity level. Id. At Step Two, the ALJ
found that Childress has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease status post fusion, rotator cuff
tear status post repair, and obesity. Id.
finding that Childress's impairments did not meet or
equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 74), the ALJ determined
that Childress has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform the full range of sedentary
work, except that: (1) she must have a sit/stand option; (2)
she can only occasionally stoop to reach at knee level, and
can only occasionally kneel with assistance to get back up,
crouch, and crawl; (3) she cannot climb ladders, ropes, and
scaffolds; and (4) she can only occasionally reach overhead
with her left arm. Id.
found that Childress was unable to perform any past relevant
work. (Tr. at 77). Next, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a
Vocational Expert (“VE”) to find that, based on
Childress's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs
existed in significant numbers in the national economy that
she could perform, including work as a lampshade assembler
and a document preparer. (Tr. at 78).
the ALJ held that Childress was not disabled. (Tr. at
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
''[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)
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 ...