The opinion of the court was delivered by: SWEET
Arroyo is a fifty-year-old resident of New York. He is currently disabled and receiving Social Security Disability ("SSDI") benefits.
Callahan became Acting Commissioner of Social Security on March 1, 1997, after this action was filed. Callahan is substituted for the originally-named defendant, Shirley S. Chater. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d).
Facts and Prior Proceedings
Arroyo is a high-school graduate, with one year of post-secondary education, and is married and has five children. He served in the United States Army, worked for the New York City Police Department and, most recently, for the Army National Guard. He was dismissed from his last employment in May 1987.
On October 3, 1989, Arroyo was given a medical assessment at a neighborhood health center. Among a checklist of physical ailments was an item denominated "mental status." The checklist indicates that Arroyo had no mental problems. However, the form does not indicate how that determination was made. Arroyo had several other encounters with the medical system between 1989 and 1991. There is no indication in the medical records that mental illness was diagnosed at any of those visits.
Arroyo was employed at Crystal Chemical Company ("Crystal") for eight weeks in 1990, but was terminated for tardiness, inability to perform his work and conflicts with other employees.
On May 9, 1991, Arroyo filed an application for SSDI benefits, alleging that he became disabled on October 15, 1990, the date on which he was terminated by Crystal. His application was initially denied.
In August 1991, Arroyo was prescribed an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication, which he continued to take at least until May 6, 1992. In January 1992, the Social Security Administration's psychiatric consultant, Dr. Roger Rahtz, wrote of Arroyo's mental condition:
Since 1987 when he lost his job, and since his separation from his wife, he has had recurrent depression, with suicidal thoughts. . . . He remains depressed, with no suicidal thoughts, but with persistent and significant insomnia as well as loss of interest and energy, poor self-esteem, and social isolation.
Dr. Rahtz did not expressly give an opinion about whether Arroyo was more or less disabled by his disorder at the time of the ...