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William Webb v. Michael Astrue

February 22, 2012

WILLIAM WEBB, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Plaintiff William Webb challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of 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 Webb's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On September 19, 2008, Webb, who suffers from, among other things, seizure disorder and anxiety disorder, filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since January 1, 2006.*fn1 (See Tr.*fn2 at 10, 23, 97-100.) After his application was denied, (see id. at 56-59), Webb requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on March 23, 2010. (See id. at 21-53, 60-62.) On April 29, 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, 8-20.)

Webb commenced the present action by filing a complaint on January 26, 2011 wherein he sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (See Dkt. Nos. 9, 10.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (See Dkt. Nos. 14, 16.)

III. Contentions

Webb contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by the application of improper legal standards and not supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No. 14 at 7-20.) Specifically, Webb claims that the ALJ: (1) committed error by failing to find that listings 11.02 and 11.03 were satisfied; (2) "[im]properly considered [his] emotional impairments"; (3) wrongly evaluated his credibility; and (4) erred by failing to consult with a vocational expert. (Id.) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and her decision is supported by substantial evidence.(See Dkt. No. 16 at 12-23.)

IV. Facts

The evidence in this case is undisputed and the court adopts the parties' factual recitations. (See id. at 1-9; Dkt. No. 14 at 1-7.)

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 of Soc. Sec. Admin., No. 1:05-CV-932, 2008 WL 759076, at *1-2 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 19, 2008).

VI. Discussion

A. Listings 11.02 ...


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