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Sarah Deboer v. Michael J. Astrue

December 5, 2012

SARAH DEBOER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
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

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Sarah DeBoer challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering DeBoer's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the Complaint.

II. Background

On July 27, 2009, DeBoer filed an application for DIB under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since January 5, 2004. (See Tr.*fn1 at 212-13.) After her application was denied, (see id. at 97-102), DeBoer requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on December 20, 2010. (See id. at 29-70, 103-04.) At the close of the hearing, the ALJ requested that DeBoer submit to additional consultative examinations in order to further develop the record, which she did attend. (See id. at 69, 521-58.) Thereafter, a second administrative hearing was held. (See id. at 71-94.) On May 13, 2011, the ALJ issued an unfavorable 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 1-6, 9-28.)

DeBoer commenced the present action by filing her Complaint on November 17, 2011 wherein she sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (See generally Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (See Dkt. Nos. 9, 11.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (See Dkt. Nos. 14, 15.)

III. Contentions

DeBoer contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No. 14 at 12-22.) Specifically, DeBoer claims that the: (1) residual functional capacity (RFC) is unsupported by substantial evidence and is the product of legal error; (2) ALJ failed to apply the appropriate legal standards in assessing her credibility; and (3) step five determination is unsupported by substantial evidence and is the product of legal error. (See id.) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and her decision is also supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No. 15 at 10-25.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (See Dkt. No. 14 at 3-10; Dkt. No. 15 at 2-10.)

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 by which the Commissioner evaluates whether a claimant is disabled under the Act, the court refers the parties to its previous decision 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. RFC ...


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