The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dora L. Irizarry, U.S. District Judge:
On August 31, 2008, pro se Plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits on behalf of her son, A.M.B., who was then three years old. (R. 32.) On December 12, 2008, the Social Security Administration denied the claim. (R. 36.) On December 20, 2008, Plaintiff requested a hearing. (R. 33.) On July 27, 2009, Plaintiff appeared, without counsel, and testified at the hearing before Administrative Law Judge Ronald R. Bosch ("ALJ"). (R. 20.) By decision dated September 19, 2009, the ALJ concluded that A.M.B. was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act (the "Act") since August 31, 2008, the date Plaintiff's application was filed, and, therefore, not entitled to SSI. (R. 19.) On January 14, 2010, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision final.
(R. 1.) On March 10, 2010, Plaintiff filed the instant action seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administration Commissioner's decision denying benefits to A.M.B. On October 13, 2011, the Commissioner moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c), seeking affirmation of that determination. For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's motion is granted and the Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
I.Non-medical and Testimonial Evidence
A.Questionnaires and Written Reports
On August 31, 2008, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI benefits on behalf of her son, A.M.B., who was born on January 26, 2005 in the United States. (R. 32.) On September 8, 2008, as a part of her initial application, Plaintiff completed a function report and indicated that A.M.B. could not print letters or write his first name. (R. 52, 57.) Also on September 8, 2008,
R. Zientarski interviewed A.M.B. and completed a Disability Report (Form SSA-3367) that indicated A.M.B. was observed playing with a toy car, was well behaved and did not display any breathing problems. (R. 62, 63.) Plaintiff completed a Disability Report (Form SSA-3820) for A.M.B. that indicated A.M.B. suffered from hemophilia and asthma, and listed Dr. Fazul Yusuf as A.M.B.'s treating physician. (R. 64, 65.) Plaintiff also indicated in the report that A.M.B. was prescribed Albuterol, Benefix and Factinine for his illnesses. (R. 67.)
In another Disability Report completed by Plaintiff on December 16, 2008, Plaintiff indicated that A.M.B. was treated on a weekly basis with intravenous medication to prevent internal bleeding and, without this treatment, A.M.B.'s joints became inflamed and painful. (R. 79.) Plaintiff also indicated that A.M.B. has been treated with steroids on one occasion, which "helped a bit that time." (Id.)
At a hearing held before the ALJ on July 27, 2009, Plaintiff testified that her son was disabled because of his hemophilia, which caused him to bleed even if he just was bumped. (R. 27.) Plaintiff estimated that A.M.B. bled once or twice a week, and she gave him intravenous medicine to stop the bleeding three times a week. (R. 28.) Plaintiff explained that this medication helped to control the swelling in A.M.B.'s right knee, which suffered from internal joint bleeding. (Id.)
Plaintiff testified that A.M.B. was not a discipline problem, ate normally, slept normally and generally was able to use his body normally. (R. 28, 29.) Plaintiff stated that A.M.B.'s only limitation was in playing sports, but that she "ha[s] to be constantly watching him every minute of every day." (R. 30.) Plaintiff also stated that she had to carry A.M.B. when his knee was bleeding. (R. 29.) The medication she administered to A.M.B. three times a week sometimes bothered him, (R. 30).
A.M.B. was treated by two doctors: (1) Dr. Fazul Yusuf, a Pediatrician and (2) Dr. Suchitra Acharya, a Pediatric Hematologist. Dr. Yusuf saw A.M.B. every three months from birth, to treat A.M.B. for hemophilia. (R. 85.) Dr. Acharya, a Pediatric Hematologist at the Comprehensive Hemophilia Treatment Center, saw A.M.B. twice a year from birth for comprehensive visits and as needed for bleeding. (R. 102, 110.)
On August 7, 2008, Dr. Yusuf completed a "Care Required for Sick/Disabled Household Member" form and indicated that A.M.B. was diagnosed with "Severe Factor IX Deficient Hemophilia" and, as a result, could not go to the toilet, wash, bathe, prepare meals or feed himself, without assistance. (R. 83.)Additionally, Dr. Yusuf provided a letter ...