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Dibenedetto v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 21, 2014

CHRISTOPHER J. DIBENEDETTO, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

HOWARD D. OLINSKY, ESQ. Olinsky Law Group Syracuse, NY.

HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN ANDREEA L. LECHLEITNER United States Attorney Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Syracuse, NY.

Steven P. Conte Regional Chief Counsel Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel, New York, NY.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Christopher J. DiBenedetto 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. ยงยง 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering DiBenedetto's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On May 28, 2009, DiBenedetto filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since December 2, 2007. (Tr.[1] at 83-84, 189-98.) After his applications were denied, ( id. at 85-92), DiBenedetto requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on October 19, 2010, ( id. at 62-82, 99-101). On January 25, 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. ( Id. at 6-11, 24-42.)

DiBenedetto commenced the present action by filing his complaint on October 9, 2012 wherein he sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (Dkt. Nos. 8, 9.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 11, 12.)

III. Contentions

DiBenedetto contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 11 at 10-17.) Specifically, DiBenedetto claims that the ALJ erred in: (1) determining that a substance use disorder was material to the finding of disability; (2) rendering his residual functional capacity (RFC) determination; (3) evaluating DiBenedetto's credibility; and (4) making his step five determination. ( Id. ) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and his decision is also supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 12 at 8-17.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 11 at ...


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