The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY Senior United States District Judge
Plaintiff Edward Kostzenskie brought this suit under sections 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act ("Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. sections 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), to review a final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's application for disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. Presently before the Court are the parties' motions for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Kostzenskie applied for SSI benefits on June 20, 2005. Tr. at 34, 41. The application was initially denied on August 12, 2005. Tr. at 34. On August 19, 2005, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). Tr. at 32. The hearing occurred on June 7, 2007, before ALJ Robin J. Artz. Tr. at 189. During the hearing, Plaintiff was represented by counsel. Id. ALJ Artz found that Kostzenskie was not disabled under sections 216(I) and 223(d) of the Act. Tr. at 24. The ALJ's decision became the final determination of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision on November 30, 2007. Tr. at 4. Plaintiff then commenced the present action seeking review of the Commissioner's decision.
Plaintiff was born in January 1961. Tr. at 192. He worked as a corrections officer for the State of New York from 1982 to May 2005. Tr. at 195. His work involved sitting for two hours, standing for two hours, and walking for two hours each day, and lifting up to twenty pounds. Tr. at 47.
Plaintiff testified that he had sustained injuries to his right knee and both shoulders Tr. 195. He underwent surgery on his right shoulder in 1997. Tr. at 193. He had surgery on his left shoulder in 2003. Tr. at 198. Plaintiff said that he did not have pain in his right shoulder unless he tried to lift too much. He admitted that he could lift thirty pounds with both hands Tr. at 199. Plaintiff said that Aleve helped to relieve his pain. Tr. at 198.
Plaintiff testified that he had a driver's license, and that he could drive for forty-five minutes to an hour at a time Tr. at 193-94. Plaintiff performed household chores, shopped for himself, and occasionally visited his mother. Tr. at 205.
Stewat Kaufman, M.D. was Plaintiff's treating physician. Tr. at 22. Tamara Graham, D.C. was Plaintiff's treating chiropractor. Tr. at 23. Drs. Kaufman and Graham's extensive notes were part of the original record before the ALJ. Tr. at 22, 23.
The Act defines "disability" as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). The administrative regulations established by the Commissioner require the ALJ to apply a five-step evaluation to determine whether an individual qualifies for disability insurance benefits. See20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920; see alsoWilliams v. Apfel, 204 F.3d 48, 48--49 (2d Cir. 1999); Bush v. Shalala, 94 F.2d 40, 44--45 (2d Cir. 1996).
First, the [Commissioner] considers whether the claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful activity. If he is not, the [Commissioner] next considers whether the claimant has a "severe impairment" which significantly limits his physical or mental ability to do basic work activities. If the claimant suffers such an impairment which is listed in Appendix 1 of the regulations, [t]he [Commissioner] presumes that a claimant who is afflicted with a "listed" impairment is unable to perform substantial gainful activity. Assuming the claimant does not have a listed impairment, the fourth inquiry is whether, despite the claimant's severe impairment, he has the residual functional capacity to ...