Papesh v. Colvin, No. 14-2230 (8th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Papesh had a GED and worked as a bakery helper. She reported long-term, low-back pain, which radiated to her hips and legs. She said the pain “is worse with working” because the bakery has concrete floors. She began treatment in 2009 (the year she turned 50) with Dr. Cash, who observed “tenderness throughout the lumbar spine to palpation, as well as pain with some spasm in the low back.” Papesh was also caring for her mother, who had severe dementia and suffered “worsened depression and anxiety” after her mother’s death. Papesh applied for disability and for supplemental security income in early 2010, alleging she was disabled due to degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and other impairments. The Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded the denial of benefits because the record contained two substantially similar residual function capacity opinions from a treating physician and neutral medical expert plus a consistent opinion from a second treating physician—all consistent with Papesh’s descriptions of her daily functioning. The ALJ’s determination that Papesh can perform light work was outside the available zone of choice. The substantial evidence on the record as a whole supports a finding that Papesh is capable of sedentary work only.