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McCusker v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. New York

November 20, 2014

MARIE LINDA McCUSKER, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

Office of Peter M. Margolius, PETER M. MARGOLIUS, ESQ., Catskill, NY, For the Plaintiff.

HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, GRAHAM MORRISON, United States Attorney, DAVID L. BROWN, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Syracuse, NY, for the Defendant.

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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Marie Linda McCusker 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. ยง 405(g). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering McCusker's arguments, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed and McCusker's complaint is dismissed.

II. Background

On March 23, 2011 and March 29, 2011, McCusker filed applications for DIB and SSI, respectively, under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since July 26, 2006. (Tr.[1] at 67-68, 175-81, 182-88.) After her applications were denied, ( id. at 123-38), McCusker requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), ( id. at 139), which was held on April 30, 2012, ( id. at 39-64). On June 1, 2012, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision denying the requested benefits, ( id. at 14-38), which became the Commissioner's final determination upon the Social Security Administration Appeals Council's denial of review, ( id. at 1-6).

McCusker commenced the present action by filing her complaint on August 30, 2013, 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, 10.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 12, 13.)

III. Contentions

McCusker contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No.12 at 1, 3-6.) Specifically, McCusker claims that the ALJ erred in his step five determination because: (1) the Commissioner did not meet her burden of proof that jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy; and (2) the vocational expert's (VE) testimony is not consistent with the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). ( 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. 13 at 2-8.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 12 at ...


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