United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Eliceo Guevara, 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) under the provisions
of Title II 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.
protectively filed his current application for DIB on August
15, 2014, alleging an inability to work since November 18,
2013, due to a back injury, diabetes and high cholesterol.
(Tr. 71, 155). An administrative video hearing was held on
July 22, 2015, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and
testified. (Tr. 56-70).
written decision dated January 20, 2016, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 16).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the back and
diabetes mellitus. 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. (Tr. 17). The ALJ
found Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
that he can only occasionally climb, balance, crawl, kneel,
stoop, and crouch.
(Tr. 17). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform work as a poultry deboner,
a poultry eviscerator and an extrusion press operator II.
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on March 6, 2017.
(Tr. 1-3). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc.
1). Both parties have filed appeal briefs, and the case is
before the undersigned for report and recommendation. (Docs.
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
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 Claimant
must show that his disability, not simply his impairment, has
lasted for at least twelve consecutive months.
Commissioner's regulations require her to apply a
five-step sequential evaluation process to each claim for
disability benefits: (1) whether the claimant has engaged in
substantial gainful activity since filing his claim; (2)
whether the claimant has a severe physical and/or mental
impairment or combination of impairments; (3) whether the
impairment(s) meet or equal an impairment in the listings;
(4) whether the impairment(s) prevent the claimant from doing
past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant is able to
perform other work in the national economy given his age,
education, and experience. See 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. Only if the final stage is reached does the fact
finder consider the Claimant's age, education, and work
experience in light of his residual functional capacity.
See McCoy v. Schweiker, 683 F.2d 1138, 1141-42 (8th
Cir. 1982); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520.