United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Northern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
VOLPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
recommended disposition has been submitted to United States
District Judge Lee P. Rudofsky. 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.
Matthew Shepard, has appealed the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to deny
his claim for supplemental security income. Both parties have
submitted appeal briefs and the case is now ready for a
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 Cir. 1996). In 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 Cir.
history of the administrative proceedings and the statement
of facts relevant to this decision are contained in the
respective briefs and are not in serious dispute. Therefore,
they will not be repeated in this opinion except as
necessary. After careful consideration of the record as a
whole, I find the decision of the Commissioner is supported
by substantial evidence.
is young. He was thirty-five at the time of the
administrative hearing. (Tr. 254.) He is a high school
graduate, (Id.), and has past relevant work as a
hand packager. (Tr. 56.)
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found Mr. Shepard has
“severe” impairments in the form of human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV), gastroesophageal reflux disease
(GERD), migraine headaches, anxiety, and depression, (Tr.
49), but did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments meeting or equaling an impairment listed in 20
C.F.R. § 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 50-52.)
determined Mr. Shepard had the residual functional capacity
(RFC) to perform a reduced range of sedentary work. (Tr.
52.) Given this RFC, the ALJ determined Mr. Shepard
is no longer able to perform his past relevant work. (Tr.
56.) Therefore, the ALJ employed the services of a vocational
expert to determine whether jobs existed that Mr. Shepard
could perform despite his impairments. (Tr. 265-268.) Based
in part on the vocational expert testimony, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff was capable of performing the jobs
of document preparer and addressor. (Tr. 57.) Accordingly,
the ALJ determined Mr. Shepard was not disabled.
Appeals Council received additional evidence but denied Mr.
Shepard's request for a review of the ALJ's decision.
(Tr. 1-4.) Therefore, the ALJ's decision is the final
decision of the Commissioner. (Id.) Plaintiff filed
the instant Complaint initiating this review. (Doc. No. 2.)
support of his Complaint, Mr. Shepard argues that the ALJ
erred by not finding his irritable bowel syndrome, throat
problems, and bipolar disorder are “severe”
impairments. (Doc. No. 11 at 5-7.) Plaintiff also says that
the ALJ erred at step 5 of his analysis but fails to develop
any argument supporting this claim. (Id.)
“severe” impairment is one that significantly
limits a claimant's physical or mental ability to do
basic work activities. Gwathney v. Chater, 104 F.3d
1043, 1045 (8th Cir. 1997); Browning v. Sullivan,
958 F.2d 817, 821 (8th Cir. 1992); 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(c) (2007). It has “more than a minimal effect
on the claimant's ability to work.” Hudson v.
Bowen, 870 F.2d at 1396; accord, Kirby v.
Astrue, 500 F.3d 705, 707 (8th Cir. 2007); Page v.
Astrue, 484 F.3d 1040, 1043 (8th Cir. 2007).
(a) Non-severe impairment(s). An impairment or
combination of impairments is not severe if it does not
significantly limit your physical or mental ...