MARY MARTHA WITHINGTON, ESQ., Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY, Saratoga Springs, NY, for the Plaintiff.
SIXTINA FERNANDEZ, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, 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.
Plaintiff Penny Catherine Williams challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disibility Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Williams' arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.
On July 15, 2008, Williams filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since June 15, 2005. (Tr. at 50-51, 86-95.) After her application was denied, ( id. at 52-57), Williams requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on April 6, 2010, ( id. at 32-49, 58). On April 28, 2010, 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. ( Id. at 1-5, 20-31.)
Williams commenced the present action by filing her complaint on April 18, 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. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 8.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 10, 11.)
Williams contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 10 at 13-22.) Specifically, Williams argues that the ALJ committed error in failing to: (1) "give appropriate weight to [her] subjective complaints of back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, headaches and abdominal pain from ulcerative colitis"; and (2) "seek clarification from [her] providers of her functional limitations and in failing to consider the effect of untreated depression and anxiety on [her] functioning." ( Id. ) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used and the findings are supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 11 at 5-17.)
The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 10 at 5-13; Dkt. No. 11 at 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 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. ...