United States District Court, W.D. New York
MARK A. WEBB, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR., United States District Court Chief
Mark Webb (“Plaintiff”) brings this action to
challenge the final decision of the Acting Commissioner of
Social Security (“the Commissioner”) denying
Plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) and supplemental security income
(“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social
Security Act (“the Act”). ECF No. 1. The Court
has jurisdiction over this matter under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3).
parties have moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to
Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF Nos.
9, 10. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motion
(ECF No. 9) is GRANTED, the Commissioner's motion (ECF
No. 10) is DENIED, and this matter is REMANDED for further
August 27, 2008, Plaintiff protectively filed applications
for DIB and SSI under the Act. Tr. 1024. Plaintiff alleges
disability since September 15, 2007 due to bipolar disorder,
depression, hypertension, migraines, hepatitis B, hepatitis
C, vision problems, right leg pain, and mental health issues.
Tr. 153. On October 28, 2010, Administrative Law Judge
Timothy M. McGuan (“the ALJ”) concluded that
Plaintiff was not disabled under the Act and issued an
unfavorable decision. Tr. 15-35. Plaintiff sought judicial
review and the ALJ's decision was ultimately remanded to
the Commissioner for further proceedings. Tr. 1128-39.
December 2, 2014, the ALJ issued a partially favorable
decision finding Plaintiff disabled as of November 20, 2013,
but not prior to that date. Tr. 1019-54. That decision became
the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on
September 14, 2015. Tr. 1014-17. Plaintiff then filed this
civil action. ECF No. 1.
defines “disability” as “the inability to
do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d). Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) regulations outline the
five-step process used to determine whether a claimant is
“disabled” under the Act. 20 C.F.R. §
the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is engaged in any
substantial gainful work activity. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(b). If so, the claimant is not disabled.
Id. If not, the ALJ proceeds to step two and
determines whether the claimant has a “severe”
impairment or combination of impairments. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(c). If the claimant does not have a severe
impairment or combination of impairments, the claimant is not
disabled. Id. If the claimant does have a severe
impairment, the analysis proceeds to step three.
three, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant has an
impairment (or combination of impairments) that meets or
medically equals one of the conditions listed in 20 C.F.R.
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 of the regulations
(“the Listings”). If the impairment does meet or
equal a condition in the Listings and the durational
requirement (20 C.F.R. § 404.1509) is satisfied, then
the claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d). If it
does not, the ALJ will make a finding regarding the
claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”), which is an assessment of what the
claimant can still do despite his or her limitations. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(1). The RFC is then used at steps
four and five. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e).
fourth inquiry is whether, given the claimant's RFC, the
claimant can still perform his or her past relevant work. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(f). If the claimant can perform his or
her past relevant work, the claimant is not disabled.
Id. If he or she cannot, the ALJ proceeds to step
fifth and final step, the ALJ must consider the
claimant's RFC as well as his or her age, education, and
work experience to determine whether the claimant can make an
adjustment to other work for which there are a significant
number of jobs in the national economy. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(g). If the claimant can make an adjustment to other
work, then the claimant is not disabled. Id. If the
claimant cannot make that adjustment, then the claimant is
burden of proving the first four elements is on the claimant,
and the burden of proving the fifth element is on the
Commissioner. Bush v. Shalala, 94 F.3d 40, 44-45 (2d