Submitted: January 11, 2017
Corrected April 25, 2017 
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas - Jonesboro
SMITH  and KELLY, Circuit Judges, and
SIPPEL,  District Judge.
SIPPEL, District Judge.
Fentress appeals the decision of the district
court affirming the Commissioner's partial
denial of his applications for disability insurance benefits
("DIB") and supplemental security income
("SSI") benefits under the Social Security Act.
See 42 U.S.C. §§ 401, 1381. The
Commissioner found Fentress was not disabled from September
22, 2005 through August 23, 2012, but became disabled on
August 24, 2012. Because the decision of the Commissioner is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole,
suffers from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
high blood pressure, depression, hepatitis C, diabetes, liver
damage, hepatomegaly, uveitis of the left eye, coronary
artery disease, and degenerative disc disease. He applied for
DIB and SSI benefits on July 27, 2006, alleging an onset date
of September 22, 2005. After his claims were denied at the
administrative level, Fentress sought review in district
court, which remanded his claims to the Commissioner for
further proceedings. Fentress then filed new applications for
DIB and SSI benefits, alleging an onset date of September 30,
2009. These applications were consolidated with his initial
applications, and on December 1, 2011, an administrative law
judge ("ALJ") denied all of Fentress's claims.
Fentress pursued an administrative appeal, and in November
2013, the Appeals Council remanded the case to the ALJ for
further proceedings. On April 7, 2014, a different ALJ
considered Fentress's claims and issued a partially
favorable decision, finding him disabled since August 24,
2012, but not disabled from September 30, 2009 through August
15, 2015, the Appeals Council reviewed Fentress's case
and issued its own opinion. After consideration of all of
Fentress's applications, the Appeals Council agreed with
the ALJ that Fentress was disabled as of August 24, 2012, but
concluded that he was not disabled from the initial onset
date of September 22, 2005, through August 23, 2012.
the ALJ before it, the Appeals Council evaluated
Fentress's disability claims according to the five-step
sequential evaluation process prescribed by the Social
Security Regulations. See Goff v. Barnhart, 421 F.3d
785, 789-90 (8th Cir. 2005); 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)-(g). At step four of the analysis, the Appeals
Council determined that Fentress retained the residual
functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work,
with modifications. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)
(defining RFC as "the most [a claimant] can still do
despite" his "physical or mental
limitations"). In reaching its decision, the Appeals
Council reviewed, and ultimately discounted, an opinion
rendered by Fentress's treating physician, Bradford
Waters, M.D., that chronic pain and fatigue would prevent
Fentress from working. The Appeals Council assigned little
weight to the opinion of Dr. Waters as inconsistent with
other substantial evidence in the record, including numerous
unremarkable physical examinations, Fentress's own
denials of pain, and the opinion of a consulting physician,
Bruce Randolph, M.D., who examined Fentress.
on the testimony of a vocational expert, the Appeals Council
found that there were a significant number of jobs in the
national economy which Fentress could perform with his
modified light work RFC prior to August 24, 2012. Therefore,
at step five of the analysis the Appeals Council concluded
that Fentress was not disabled from his initial alleged onset
date of September 22, 2005, through August 23, 2012, but was
disabled as of August 24, 2012. This decision stands as the
final decision of the Commissioner.
then sought review in the district court under 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). The district court affirmed the decision of
the Commissioner. Fentress now appeals, arguing that the
Commissioner erred in discounting the opinion of his treating
physician and when formulating his RFC.
review the district court's decision upholding the denial
of social security benefits de novo."
McDade v. Astrue, 720 F.3d 994, 997-98 (8th Cir.
2013). "We will uphold the [Commissioner's] decision
to deny benefits if that decision is supported by substantial
evidence in the record as a whole." Perks v.
Astrue, 687 F.3d 1086, 1091 (8th Cir. 2012).
"Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but
enough that a reasonable mind might accept it as adequate to
support a decision." Kirby v. Astrue, 500 F.3d
705, 707 (8th Cir. 2007). We consider both evidence that
detracts from the Commissioner's decision, as well as
evidence that supports it, see Boettcher v. Astrue,
652 F.3d 860, 863 (8th Cir. 2011), but we ...