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Dennis A. Buschle v. Michael J. Astrue
February 10, 2012
DENNIS A. BUSCHLE, PLAINTIFF,
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe Chief Judge
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Dennis A. Buschle challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Buschle's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.
On September 28, 2007, Buschle, a former welder afflicted with seizure
disorder, bipolar II disorder, alcohol and cocaine abuse in recent
remission, and status post aortic valve replacement, filed
applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the
Act"), alleging disability since October 15, 2006. (See Tr.*fn1
at 16, 40, 137-144.) After his application was denied, (see
id. at 64-69), Buschle requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on February 8, 2010.*fn2
(See id. at 35-61, 72) On February 25, 2010, the ALJ issued a
decision denying the requested benefits, which became the
Commissioner's final determination upon the Social Security
Administration Appeals Council's denial of review. (See id. at 1-4,
Buschle commenced the present action by filing a complaint on December 20, 2010, 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, 8.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 12, 13.)
Buschle contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by the application of improper legal standards and not supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No.12 at 12-25.) Specifically, Buschle claims that the ALJ: (1) did not apply the proper standards for evaluating Buschle's Residual Function Capacity (RFC); (2) failed to apply the "[p]sychiatric [r]review [t]echnique" (PRT) in determining Buschle's mental functional limitations; (3) improperly assessed Buschle's credibility; and (4) did not meet his step 5 burden by failing to consult with a vocational expert in light of Buschle's "significant non-exertional limitations." (Id.) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used and substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision.(See Dkt. No. 13 at 13-25.)
The evidence in this case is undisputed and the court adopts the parties' factual recitations. (See Dkt. No. 12 at 2-12; Dkt. No. 13 at 1-13.)
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 of Soc. Sec. Admin., No. 1:05-CV-932, 2008 WL 759076, at *1-2 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 19, 2008).
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