The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, District Judge
Gloria Walker brings this action under section 205(g) of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (the "Act"), challenging the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying
her application for supplemental security income ("SSI"). Defendant has
moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Plaintiff filed applications for SSI benefits on July 27, 1982, August 16, 1984, February 27, 1985*fn1 and February 13, 1992. See
Tr. at 54. In her application, plaintiff stated that her disability
impairments, a heart condition and feet problems, began in March of 1992.
See id. Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. See id. at 59, 67. Pursuant to a court order
issued in the Steiberger v. Sullivan class action lawsuit
requiring the Social Security Administration to reconsider plaintiff's
earlier applications, her claims were re-opened, reviewed, and again
denied in 2000. See id. at 74. Upon request, a hearing was
conducted before an administrative law judge ("ALJ") on February 20,
2002. See id. at 35. On February 28, 2002, the ALJ issued a
decision denying plaintiff's application for benefits for the period
March 1989 through April 1998. See id. at 10, 14. The ALJ's
decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals
Council denied plaintiff's request for review on February 26, 2003.
See id. at 6.
B. Plaintiff's Personal History
Plaintiff was born on January 28, 1947. See id. at 39, 54. She
was forty-five years old when she filed her application in March 1992.
See id. at 54. She completed eleven years of school and did not obtain a GED or
attend a vocational school. See id. at 40, 84, 101. Plaintiff
lives with her two children (ages thirty-one and thirty-five at the time
of her 2002 hearing) in a private home rented by the plaintiff. See
id. at 24, 39. In her 1992 application disability report dated May
22, 2000, plaintiff stated that she had not worked for the past fifteen
years. See id. at 96. Plaintiff testified that during the
relevant time period, March 1989 through April 1998, she used public
transportation without assistance on a regular basis. See id. at
40. Plaintiff testified that although she had had several surgeries on
her feet during the relevant time period which caused certain
limitations, these limitations had not kept her from working; rather her
migraine headaches and heart palpitations were the source of her
disability. See id. at 40-41. Plaintiff further testified that
she sporadically had difficulty holding objects and would occasionally
faint. See id. at 42. Additionally, plaintiff testified that on
some days she could walk "blocks and blocks and blocks" without
difficulty and on other days she tired easily. Id. at 43.
Plaintiff described her hobbies as watching TV, listening to the radio,
playing card games, reading, and experimenting with hair styles. See
id. at 44. Plaintiff testified that she did some household chores
but her children did most of them, although she did the cooking. See
id. C. Medical Evidence
1. Treating Physicians*fn2
a. Morrisania Neighborhood FCC
Plaintiff was seen at the Morrisania Neighborhood Clinic from September
1, 1992 through the present for pain caused by urination. She also
complained of itchy skin which was diagnosed as contact dermatitis.
See id. at 132-34.
b. North General Hospital
On October 15, 1991, plaintiff was seen at North General Hospital for
her hammertoe*fn3 condition and was referred to physical therapy.
See id. at 138. On November 19 and December 24, 1991, plaintiff
was seen in the Hospital's rehabilitation department after she had
surgery on her toe. In addition, it was noted that she had emphysema and
Marfan Syndrome,*fn4 ...