The opinion of the court was delivered by: LAURA TAYLOR SWAIN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pro sc plaintiff Leonardo Reyes ("Plaintiff' or "Reyes") brings this
action pursuant to § 2()5(g) of the Social Security Act ("the Act"),
42 U.S.C. § 205(g), challenging the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security to deny Reyes Supplemental Social
Security ("SSI" benefits. The Commissioner has moved for judgment on the
pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The motion, which is
unopposed, is granted for the following reasons.
Reyes was born in 1958. (Tr. 40). He is a high school graduate, and
worked as a shipping clerk until his termination in 1998. (Tr. 266, 267).
He was unemployed from then until the time of the AU hearing. (Tr. 267).
During the hearing, Reyes testified that, although he had looked for
work, he was at that time planning to return to school to study
computers. Id. Reyes
also testified that he lived alone and used public transportation
to travel. (Tr. 266). Over the summer before the hearing, Reyes's
twelve-year-old daughter had lived with him. (Tr. 271). Reyes had also
volunteered in the past at an AIDS center, and was planning to go back to
volunteering there two to three times a week. Id.
Reyes was diagnosed with HIV on February 5, 1998, at the New York
University Medical Center. (Tr. 46,47). From May 1998 to December 1999,
Reyes was treated by Dr. George McKenley at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital
Center. (Tr. 116). Dr. McKenley reported in May 1998 that Reyes had no
skin lesions and no thrush in his mouth and pharynx. (Tr. 96). In
December 1998, Dr. McKenley reported that Reyes was "doing well on a
regimen of COMBIVIR and CRIXIVAN." (Tr. 116). In May 1999, Dr. Grace
Minamoto, who had treated Reyes since February 1999, reported that Reyes
had no opportunistic infections, AIDS-related diseases or current
symptoms. (Tr. 119-124). Dr. Minamoto further reported on the basis of
the same examination that Reyes had no limitations in sitting, standing,
walking, lifting, carrying or handling of objects, and no limitations in
social interactions and adaption. (Tr. 121-124). In another diagnostic
examination which took place in April 1999, another physician, Dr. Peter
Graham, concluded that Reyes was capable of performing activities such as
sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, and handling objects,
though he may be limited by fatigue. (Tr. 131-133).
Dr. Sharff, a state agency physician, performed an assessment of
Reyes's capacity to perform work-related activities in June 1999. (Tr.
134-141). Dr. Sharff concluded that Reyes could lift up to twenty-five
pounds frequently and fifty pounds occasionally, stand and/or walk
for about six hours in an eight-hour day and sit for about six
hours in an eight-hour day. (Tr. 135).
In October 1999, Reyes was examined by Dr. Michael Polak. (Tr.
147-149). At this examination, Reyes complained of weakness, fatigue, and
intermittent fevers and chills. (Tr. 147). Dr. Polak found Reyes to be
well-developed, well-nourished, and in no acute distress, but "mildly
impaired for carrying/lifting, pushing/pulling, walking and standing."
(Tr. 148-149). However, he also found that Reyes had a normal gait and
would have no problems performing activities requiring dexterity, bending
or sitting. (Tr. 147-149). Finally, Dr. Polak noted that Reyes lived
alone in a sixth floor apartment and cleaned, cooked, and shopped for
In July 2000, Dr. Mary Theodore reported that she has been treating
Reyes for a generalized anxiety disorder since May 2000. (Tr. 255-261).
Dr. Theodore reported that Reyes was alert, oriented, and had no
psychotic symptoms. (Tr. 255). She reported that Reyes had mild
restrictions in his activities of daily living, mild difficulties in
maintaining social functioning, and some difficulty concentrating and
focusing on tasks. (Tr. 256-257). Dr. Theodore concluded, however, that
Reyes did not have difficulties following through with tasks and could
make occupational adjustments. (Tr. 257-258).
B. Procedural History
On April 19, 1999, plaintiff Reyes applied for SSI benefits, alleging
an inability to work since August 28, 1998 (Tr.40-42). was unable to work
due to HIV infection and an anxiety disorder. (Tr. 44K). Reyes's
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. (Tr. 30-31,
33-35). At Reyes's request, a hearing was held before an administrative
law judge (`"ALJ) on July 28, 2000, at which time Reyes appeared and
(Tr. 262-278). On September 8, 2000, the ALJ issued his decision,
finding that Reyes was not' disabled. (Tr. 8-27). On March 2, 2001, the
Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration denied Reyes's
request for review, and the ALJ's denial became the Social Security
Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 4-5).
Under the Social Security Act, the "findings of the Commissioner as to
any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive."
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). In reviewing the Commissioner's decision, this Court
will set aside the "decision only where it is based upon legal error or
is not supported by substantial evidence." Balsamo v. Chater,
142 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1998). Substantial evidence is "more than a
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 (1971). "The substantial evidence test
also applies to inferences and conclusions drawn from findings on facts."
Levine v. Gardner, 360 F.2d 727, 730 (2d Cir. 1966). Therefore,
"the Commissioner's findings of fact and the inferences and conclusions
drawn from such findings are conclusive, even if the reviewing court's
analysis differs from the analysis of the Commissioner." Worthy v.
Barnhart, No. 01 Civ. 7907(JSM), 2002 WL 31873463 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23,
2002). In reviewing the ALJ's decision in light of the record, the
district court does not" substitute its own judgment for That of ...