changes. An X-ray of the lumbosacral spine showed scoliotic deformity.
Dr. Mancheno's diagnosis of Plaintiff was "rule out discogenic disorder of the cervical spine; status post surgery of the left knee and arthritis of the right knee." He found she could do light lifting and carrying, moderate standing and walking, light pushing and pulling and sit without restrictions.
Dr. M.S. El Dakkai submitted a report dated November 12, 1992 of Plaintiff's residual functional capacity regarding disorders of the spine. Dr. Dakkai found that Plaintiff had limited right neck rotation and decreased extension. Plaintiff had radiculopathy along disc levels C4-5-6 and her right arm as well as radiculopathy in both legs. Plaintiff had tingling and numbness in her right arm and right leg. Dr. El Dakkai indicated that Plaintiff had a myelogram of the cervical spine that revealed a herniated disc at C4-5 and a bulging disc at the lumbosacral spine. Plaintiff also under went arthroscopic surgery on both knees.
Dr. El Dakkai diagnosed Plaintiff with disc disease at C4-5-6, and found this impairment could last up to at least twelve months. He recorded that Plaintiff could continuously stand for up to two hours, sit continuously sit for up to two hours, and alternatively sit and stand for up to three hours. Plaintiff would have to lie down at sometime during the day and could not walk further than two blocks without stopping, and lift and carry a maximum of ten pounds. Dr. Dakkai indicated without explanation that Plaintiff had problems doing one or more of the following; bending, squatting, kneeling or turning parts of her body. Finally, he indicated that Plaintiff could travel alone by bus or by subway and that she did not suffer from an impairment that limited her physical/mental ability to do basic work activities.
D. Medical Evidence Submitted After Close of Administrative Record
Plaintiff asserts that two medical reports considered by the Appeals Council in deciding not to grant administrative review of the ALJ's determination, but not submitted to the ALJ, should also be considered by this Court in reviewing the decision of the Secretary.
Plaintiff argues the importance of one report, dated April 21, 1993, compiled by Dr. Celestin, Plaintiff's treating physician, regarding treatment for arthritis of the knees from 1988 to 1990. This record indicated that due to Plaintiff's obesity, she had severe pain in the knees that caused difficulty in walking. X-rays of her knees taken at an early stage of her treatment showed mild erosion of the articular cartilage, but an X-ray taken in March, 1990, showed demineralization of both bones consistent with arthritis. She was then diagnosed with severe knee arthritis aggravated by her weight. Her response to medication was poor, due to a lesion of the articular area which does not respond well to medication.
At the time of treatment, Dr. Celestin's prognosis was reserved because Plaintiff's disease was related to her ability to lose weight. He concluded that Plaintiff could continuously stand for up to one hour, sit continuously for up to five hours, and alternately sit or stand at one time for up to one hour. She had no problem bending, squatting, kneeling or turning parts of her body or using her extremities in a normal range of motion. Plaintiff had no problems grasping, pushing, pulling or doing fine manipulations with either hand. Plaintiff could lift up to fifty pounds, carry up to twenty pounds, walk up to two blocks.
The second report was given only cursory treatment by Plaintiff in her papers. This report was submitted by Dr. Sanchez and was dated April 16, 1993. It concerned treatment of Plaintiff on October 17, 1991 and February 13, 1992 for cervical and lumbar pain and left knee arthritis. The report did not distinguish between Plaintiff's diagnosis on each respective date, and a report of Dr. Sanchez dated February 13, 1992 was used by the ALJ to find Plaintiff disabled as of that date.
A. Standard of Review
42 U.S.C. section 405(g), as incorporated by 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7(f), establishes the standard for judicial review of the determination by the Secretary to deny benefits under the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. section 405(g) provides that "the findings of the Secretary as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . . ." Accordingly, the Secretary's decision must be upheld if the Court finds there was substantial evidence in support of the Secretary's determination and that the proper legal standards were applied. See Rivera v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 964, 967 (2d Cir. 1991); Cruz v. Sullivan, 912 F.2d 8, 11 (2d Cir. 1990). Substantial evidence is "'more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'" Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 28 L. Ed. 2d 842, 91 S. Ct. 1420 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. N.L.R.B., 305 U.S. 197, 229, 83 L. Ed. 126, 59 S. Ct. 206 (1938)). The Secretary's determination will stand as long as there is substantial evidence on the record, even if the record contains evidence that could have supported a different conclusion. See Williams v. Bowen, 859 F.2d 255, 258 (2d Cir. 1988); Schauer v. Schweiker, 675 F.2d 55, 57 (2d Cir. 1982). Therefore, the only issue before this Court is whether the Secretary's determination is supported by substantial evidence in the record.
The Secretary determined that the Plaintiff was eligible for Social Security Income as of February 13, 1992, the date on which the evidence showed Plaintiff became disabled. The Secretary concluded that because Plaintiff was not disabled before February 13, 1992, Plaintiff is not entitled to SSD or SSI benefits for any period preceding that date.
B. Standards for Determining Disability
The definition of "disabled" is the same for both Title II SSD and Title XVI SSI benefits. Compare 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A) with 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(A)(3). "Disability" is defined in pertinent part as:
An individual shall be determined to be under a disability only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy . . . .