Submitted: September 27, 2018
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas - Little Rock
LOKEN, BENTON, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
BENTON, Circuit Judge.
Mae Nash appeals the judgment of the district court upholding
the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of her
application for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income. Having jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.
now 68, has a sixth-grade education and a general equivalency
diploma. She worked as a telemarketer, recruiter,
salesperson, medical assistant, and nursing-home aide. She
claims a disability onset date of January 31, 2012-the day
she was laid off as a recruiter. Though she sought work, she
has not since engaged in substantial gainful activity.
months later, Nash protectively filed for disability
benefits, alleging problems with her back, right knee, and
right thumb. Her medical history begins the next month, when
she visited Dr. Adam C. Dooley. He diagnosed her with
degenerative joint disease in her knee, mild arthritis in her
thumb, morbid obesity, and lower back pain. The first record
of treatment is six months later, at the emergency room after
falling. She next visited a third doctor, Dr. William Joseph,
for a general medical evaluation. He noted elevated blood
pressure, joint pain in her knee, general abdominal pain, and
urinary incontinence. He prescribed medications for knee
pain, back pain, and overactive bladder. Nash then amended
her limitations to include problems with her bladder and
hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Nash
testified she is unable to work because of trouble sitting.
She said that sitting is painful, and that she lies down and
props up her feet to relieve the pain. She frequently uses
the restroom, "always going back and forth to the
applied the five-step evaluation in the social security
regulations. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a), 416.920; Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140-42 (1987); Robson v.
Astrue, 526 F.3d 389, 392 (8th Cir. 2008). First, Nash
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the
onset date. Second, she had three severe medical impairments:
degenerative joint disease of the right knee, right thumb
arthritis, and obesity. The ALJ found "no persuasive
evidence of bladder problems," adding "no medical
sources have identified or documented disabling
limitations." The ALJ found that Nash's
"statements concerning the intensity, persistence, and
limiting effects of [the alleged] symptoms are not entirely
credible," and that her alleged impairments "do not
individually or in combination cause more than minimal
limitation in her ability to perform basic work
activities." Third, the ALJ found her impairment, or
combination of impairments, did not meet any listed
impairment. Fourth, the ALJ determined that Nash has the
residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform her past work
as a telemarketer.
concluded that Nash was not disabled within the meaning of
the Social Security Act between January 31, 2012 and October
16, 2014. The district court affirmed. Nash appeals.
court reviews de novo a decision affirming the denial of
disability benefits. See Byes v. Astrue, 687 F.3d
913, 915 (8th Cir. 2012). This court reverses the findings of
the Commissioner only if they are unsupported by substantial
evidence or result from an error of law. See
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Chismarich v.
Berryhill, 888 F.3d 978, 979 (8th Cir. 2018).
"Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but
enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to
support the Commissioner's conclusions." Travis
v. Astrue, 477 F.3d 1037, 1040 (8th Cir. 2007).
"[T]his court considers evidence that detracts from the
Commissioner's decision as well as evidence that supports
it." Id. "If substantial evidence supports
the Commissioner's conclusions, this court does not
reverse even if it would reach a different conclusion, or
merely because substantial evidence also supports the
contrary outcome." Id.
first argues that her RFC assessment is unsupported by
substantial evidence because "the ALJ did not go over
hypotheticals with the vocational expert that would address
her having to lay down and prop up her feet or having to go
to the bathroom frequently, during normal workday
hours." It is "the ALJ's responsibility to
determine [the claimant's] RFC based on all the relevant
evidence, including medical records, observations of treating
physicians and others, and [claimant's] own description
of her limitations." Anderson v. Shalala, 51
F.3d 777, 779 (8th Cir. 1995); 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1545-46, 416.945-46. Her
alleged limitations-needing to lie down and prop up her feet
and always going back and forth to the bathroom-are supported
only by her testimony. Subjective complaints may be
discounted if the claimant's testimony is inconsistent
with the ...