Submitted: September 22, 2016
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Davenport
LOKEN, GRUENDER, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.
Igo appeals the decision of the district court affirming the
administrative law judge's ("ALJ") denial of
his application for disability insurance benefits under Title
II of the Social Security Act. See 42 U.S.C.
§§ 416(i), 423. Because the decision of the ALJ is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole,
claims that he is disabled as a result of osteoarthritis and
degenerative joint disease of the hips, degenerative disc
disease of the lumbar and cervical spines, sensory and motor
neuropathies, chronic shoulder pain and osteoarthritis, and
carpal tunnel syndrome. Igo has an associate's degree in
digital electronics and worked steadily throughout his life
until 2010. In December 2010, he began working part-time as a
receptionist at a senior center. On April 18, 2013, Igo filed
his claim for disability insurance benefits, alleging
disability since September 1, 2009. Igo's claim was
denied initially, upon reconsideration, and after a hearing
before the ALJ.
evaluated Igo's disability claim 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)-(f). At the first step of the analysis, the ALJ
examines the claimant's work activity. If the claimant is
performing "substantial gainful activity, " then he
is not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security
Act. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(b). Based on Igo's monthly
earnings, the ALJ concluded that Igo had not performed
substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date of
September 1, 2009. At the second step, the ALJ determines
whether the claimant has a severe impairment that
"significantly limits [the claimant's] physical or
mental ability to do basic work activities." 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(c). The ALJ found that Igo had multiple
severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar
and cervical spines, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint
disease of the hips, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sensory
neuropathy. The ALJ found that Igo's mental impairments
third step, the ALJ determines based on the medical evidence
whether the severe impairments meet or equal the criteria of
a "listed impairment, " which is presumed to be
disabling. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d). The ALJ concluded
that Igo did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or equaled the criteria of a listed
impairment. The ALJ did not specify which of the listed
impairments he considered.
fourth step, the ALJ assesses the claimant's residual
functional capacity ("RFC") and considers whether
the claimant can do his past relevant work based on his RFC.
See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e); 20 C.F.R. §
404.1545 (defining RFC as "the most [a claimant] can
still do despite" his "physical or mental
limitations"). After a lengthy recitation of the
testimony and medical evidence that he considered, the ALJ
concluded that Igo retained the RFC to perform sedentary
work. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a)
("Sedentary work involves lifting no more than 10 pounds
at a time and occasionally lifting or carrying articles like
docket files, ledgers, and small tools."). Based on the
RFC, the ALJ found that Igo was able to perform his past
relevant work as a receptionist and, therefore, was not
disabled under the Social Security Act. Thus, the ALJ did not
reach the fifth step of the analysis.
Social Security Appeals Council denied Igo's request for
review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("Commissioner"). Igo then sought review in the
district court under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The district
court affirmed the decision of the Commissioner. Igo now
appeals, arguing that (1) the ALJ should have found that Igo
meets or equals the criteria of Listing 1.02A, which is the
listed impairment governing major dysfunction of a joint, and
(2) the ALJ erred in assessing Igo's RFC.
review de novo the district court's decision
affirming the ALJ's denial of benefits. Blackburn v.
Colvin, 761 F.3d 853, 858 (8th Cir. 2014). In reviewing
the ALJ's decision, we examine whether it is supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole and whether the
ALJ made any legal errors. Id. "Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance of the evidence"
and is "'such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind
would find adequate to support the Commissioner's
conclusion.'" Id. (quoting Davis v.
Apfel, 239 F.3d 962, 966 (8th Cir. 2001)). We may not
reverse simply because we would have reached a different
conclusion than the ALJ or because substantial evidence
supports a contrary conclusion. Id.
first argues that the ALJ erred in failing to find that
Igo's impairments met or equaled the criteria of Listing
1.02A and in failing to mention this listing in his
decision. However, even assuming that the ALJ erred
by failing to mention Listing 1.02A, it is not necessarily
reversible error. See Brown v. Colvin, No. 15-3001,
2016 WL 3361472, at *3 (8th Cir. June 17, 2016) ("The
ALJ's failure to identify and analyze the appropriate
listing, although error, may not by itself require reversal
so long as the record otherwise supports the ALJ's
overall conclusion."). Thus, we will uphold the
ALJ's decision so long as "substantial evidence in
the record supported the ALJ's determination" ...