United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
Cynthia Fletcher, applied for disability benefits on January
9, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of January 1,
2012. (Tr. at 13). After conducting a hearing, the
Administrative Law Judge (''ALJ'') denied her
application. (Tr. at 21). The Appeals Council denied her
request for review. (Tr. at 1). Thus, the ALJ's decision
now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.
reasons stated below, the Court affirms the decision of the
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Fletcher had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date of January 9, 2015.
(Tr. at 21). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Fletcher has the
following severe impairments: COPD, obstructive sleep apnea,
bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative disc
disease, degenerative joint disease of the knees, and
finding that Fletcher's impairments did not meet or equal
a listed impairment (Tr. at 16), the ALJ determined that
Fletcher had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work, except that: (1)
she should not perform more than occasional stooping and
crouching; (2) she could not be exposed to concentrated
fumes, odors, or gases in the workplace; and (3) she could
not have more than frequent handling responsibilities.
relied upon the testimony of a Vocational Expert
(“VE”) to find that, based on Fletcher's age,
education, work experience and RFC, she could perform her
past relevant work as a sorter at Goodwill. (Tr. at 20-21).
Based on that Step Four determination, the ALJ held that
Fletcher was not disabled. Id.
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 ''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 ...