Melvin Russell Twyford, Jr. Plaintiff- Appellant
Commissioner, Social Security Administration Defendant-Appellee
Submitted: April 17, 2019
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Missouri - Jefferson City
COLLOTON, GRUENDER, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.
ERICKSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Russell Twyford, Jr., appeals the district
court's judgment upholding the Commissioner of
Social Security's ("Commissioner") final
decision to deny his applications for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income ("SSI").
Twyford asserts that the Administrative Law Judge's
("ALJ") findings at three steps of the five-step
sequential evaluation process prescribed in 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4) were not supported by substantial
evidence. We affirm.
2012, Twyford applied for disability insurance benefits and
SSI, alleging he became disabled on September 10, 2011, due
to degenerative disc disease, major depressive disorder, and
chronic anxiety. Several months after applying, Twyford
underwent a cervical laminoplasty.
March 10, 2015, the ALJ denied Twyford's applications.
The ALJ found that Twyford had the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease, status
post-laminectomy; depression; anxiety; and substance abuse
disorder. At step three, the ALJ determined that these
impairments did not meet or equal the severity of any of the
listed impairments. Specifically, the ALJ determined that
Twyford's physical "condition [did] not meet the
requirements of Listing 1.04 (disorders of the spine) because
[he] [did] not have evidence of nerve root compression, or
spinal arachnoiditis, or lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in
pseudoclaudication." Nor did "[t]he severity of
[his] mental impairments, considered singly and in
combination, . . . meet or medically equal the criteria of
listings 12.04, 12.06, and 12.09." His mental
impairments did not meet the "paragraph B" criteria
because the impairments only caused mild restriction in
activities of daily living; moderate difficulties in social
functioning; moderate difficulties in concentration,
persistence, or pace; and no episodes of decompensation of
determined that Twyford's "medically determinable
impairments could reasonably be expected to cause the alleged
symptoms" but that his statements "concerning the
intensity, persistence and limiting effects of these symptoms
[were] not entirely credible." The ALJ then found that
Twyford had the residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform light work with the following
[He] could occasionally climb ramps or stairs but never climb
ladders, ropes or scaffolds. He could not perform overhead
reaching bilaterally. He should also avoid vibration and
workplace hazards such as unprotected moving mechanical parts
and unprotected heights. He would [be] able to understand,
carry out and remember simple, routine and repetitive tasks
involving only simple work-related decisions with few, if
any, work place changes. He should not interact with the
public but could be around co-workers throughout the day with
only brief, incidental interaction with and no tandem tasks.
He would be limited to work that is isolated, defined as
having a supervisor check on work no more than occasionally.
four, the ALJ concluded that Twyford's RFC prevented him
from performing his past relevant work as a grounds worker.
five, the ALJ, relying on a vocational expert's
("VE") testimony, found that Twyford was
"capable of making a successful adjustment to other work
that exists in significant numbers in the national
economy," such as a patching machine operator, linking
machine operator, or garment sorter. Because Twyford could
perform other work, he was not disabled as defined by the
Social Security Act.
review de novo the district court's decision
affirming the denial of benefits. Nash v. Comm'r,
Soc. Sec. Admin., 907 F.3d 1086, 1089 (8th Cir. 2018).
We will affirm unless the Commissioner's findings
"are unsupported by substantial evidence or result from
an error of law." Id. "Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's conclusions." Id. (quoting
Travis v. Astrue, 477 F.3d 1037, 1040 (8th Cir.
2007)). If we find that the record supports two inconsistent
conclusions, we must affirm the Commissioner's choice
between those ...