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Mary J. Irizarry v. Michael Astrue

January 23, 2012

MARY J. IRIZARRY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL ASTRUE,COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe Chief Judge

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Mary J. Irizarry challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) Upon reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering the arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision.

II. Background

On October 11, 2006, Irizarry filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act (the Act), alleging disability since March 1, 2006. (Tr.*fn1 at 120-25.) After her application was denied, Irizarry requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on January 15, 2009. (Id. at 20-54.) On July 21, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision denying the requested benefits, which became the Commissioner's final decision upon the Social Security Administration Appeals Council's denial of review. (Id. at 1-4, 7-19.)

Irizarry commenced the present action by filing a complaint on December 8, 2009, seeking review of the Commissioner's determination. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 9.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 11, 15.)

III. Contentions

Irizarry contends that the Commissioner's decision is not supported by substantial evidence or the appropriate legal standards. Specifically, Irizarry claims the ALJ: (1) erred at step 2 when he found her depression was non-severe; (2) failed to apply the appropriate legal standards in evaluating her Residual Function Capacity ("RFC"); (3) did not apply the appropriate legal standards in evaluating her credibility; and (4) erred when he found that she was capable of her past work as a housekeeper. (See Dkt. No. 11 at 5, 16-28.) The Commissioner counters that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision.(See generally Dkt. No. 15.)

IV. Facts

The evidence in this case is undisputed and the court adopts the parties' factual recitations. (See Dkt. No. 11 at 6-14; Dkt. No. 15 at 1-2.)

V. Standard of Review

The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is well established and will not be repeated here. For a full discussion of the standard and the five-step process used by the Commissioner in evaluating whether a claimant is disabled under the Act, the court refers the parties to its previous opinion in Christiana v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., No. 1:05-CV-932, 2008 WL 759076, at *1-2 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 19, 2008).

VI. Discussion

A. ALJ's Step Two Finding

Irizarry claims the ALJ erred when he found her "depression resulted in 'minimal, if any limitation' in her ability to perform work-related activities." ...


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