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Umstead v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. New York

May 22, 2014

ANGELA M. UMSTEAD, o/b/o S.D.W., Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

Stanley Law Offices, JAYA A. SHURTLIFF, ESQ., Syracuse, NY.

Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC, KENNETH R. HILLER, ESQ., Amherst, NY, for the Plaintiff.

HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, SERGEI ADEN, Special Assistant U.S. 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 Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Angela M. Umstead o/b/o S.D.W. challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of 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 Umstead's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On December 16, 2009, Umstead filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act") on behalf of her minor son, alleging disability since May 1, 2005. (Tr.[1] at 71, 116-19.) After her application was denied, ( id. at 72-75), Umstead requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on December 14, 2010, ( id. at 30-70, 80-82). On March 11, 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 1-6, 9-29.)

Umstead commenced the present action by filing her complaint on November 21, 2012 wherein she 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

Umstead contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 11 at 11-19.) Specifically, Umstead argues that the ALJ erred in: (1) concluding that S.D.W.'s impairments do not functionally equal a listed impairment; and (2) assessing Umstead's credibility. ( 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 5-15.)

IV. Facts

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


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