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Winbush v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, Second Circuit

August 30, 2013

TAMRA M. WINBUSH, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

LAWRENCE D. HASSELER, ESQ., Conboy, McKay Law Firm, Carthage, NY, for the Plaintiff.

JEREMY A. LINDEN, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, Syracuse, NY, Steven P. Conte, Regional Chief Counsel Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel, Region II New York, NY, for the Defendant.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Tamra M. Winbush 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). ( See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Winbush's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the Complaint.

II. Background

On January 19, 2010, Winbush filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since December 5, 2008. ( See Tr.[1] at 50, 57, 115-26.) After her applications were denied, ( see id. at 64-69), Winbush requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on June 30, 2011, ( see id. at 27-49, 72). On July 12, 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 1-4, 6-26.)

Winbush commenced the present action by filing her Complaint on March 9, 2012 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. 7, 8.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. ( See Dkt. Nos. 14, 20.)

III. Contentions

Winbush contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. ( See Dkt. No. 14 at 13-20.) Specifically, Winbush claims that the ALJ erred in: (1) finding that her lower back pain and musculoskeletal impairments were not severe; (2) failing to consider that her psychogenic non-epileptic seizure disorder met the requirements of listing 12.07; (3) failing to identify the significant limitations caused by her psychogenic seizure disorder, depression, and panic disorder and include those limitations in his residual functional capacity (RFC) determination; and (4) relying on the Medical-Vocational Guidelines to establish that there are jobs in the national economy that she is capable of performing. ( See id. ) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and his decision is also supported by substantial evidence. ( See Dkt. No. 20 at 4-19.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. ( See Dkt. No. 14 at 2-11; Dkt. No. 20 at 1.)

V. Standard of Review

The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)[2] 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. ...


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