United States District Court, N.D. New York
A.R.B. a minor, by SABRINA BRINK, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendant.
OFFICE OF PETER MARGOLIUS PETER MARGOLIUS, ESQ. Counsel for
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN. REBECCA H. ESTELLE, ESQ. OFFICE OF
REG'L GEN. COUNSEL-REGION II Counsel for Defendant
MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER
William B. Mitchell Carter U.S. Magistrate Judge.
matter was referred to me, for all proceedings and entry of a
final judgment, pursuant to the Social Security Pilot
Program, N.D.N.Y. General Order No. 18, and in accordance
with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Fed.R.Civ.P.
73, N.D.N.Y. Local Rule 73.1 and the consent of the parties.
(Dkt. Nos. 4, 12)
before the Court, in this Social Security action filed by
Sabrina Brink (“Plaintiff”) on behalf of her
minor daughter, A.R.B. (“Claimant”) against the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Defendant” or
“the Commissioner”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), are the parties' cross-motions for judgment on
the pleadings. (Dkt. Nos. 9, 10.) For the reasons set forth
below, it is ordered that Plaintiff's motion be denied
and Defendant's motion be granted.
time of filing Claimant was a school aged child and at the
time of her hearing Claimant was an adolescent. (T. 15); 20
C.F.R. § 416.926a(g)(2). Claimant's alleged
disability consists of mood disorder. (T. 148.)
March 14, 2013, Plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act on Claimant's behalf. (T. 121.)
Plaintiff's application was initially denied, after which
she timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge (“the ALJ”). On July 30, 3014, Plaintiff
and Claimant appeared before the ALJ, Robert Wright. (T.
43-63.) On November 12, 2014, ALJ Wright issued a written
decision finding Claimant not disabled under the Social
Security Act. (T. 9-30.) On March 24, 2016, the Appeals
Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's request for
review, rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision
of the Commissioner. (T. 1-6.) Thereafter, Plaintiff timely
sought judicial review in this Court.
The ALJ's Decision
in his decision, the ALJ made the following findings of fact
and conclusions of law. First, the ALJ found that Claimant
was a “school aged child” at the time of filing
and an “adolescent” the time of the hearing
pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(g)(2). (T. 15.) Second,
the ALJ found that Claimant had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the application date. (Id.)
Third, the ALJ found that Claimant suffered from the severe
impairment of a mood disorder not otherwise specified.
(Id.) Fourth, the ALJ found that Claimant did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R.
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix I (“the Listings”).
(Id.) Fifth, the ALJ found that Claimant did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that
functionally equaled an impairment set forth in the Listings.
(T. 16-26.) Sixth, and finally, the ALJ concluded Claimant
had not been disabled, as defined by the Social Security Act,
since March 14, 2013, the date her application was filed. (T.
THE PARTIES' BRIEFINGS
in support of her motion for judgment on the pleadings,
Plaintiff makes two arguments. First, Plaintiff argues the
ALJ's determination, that Claimant had less than a marked
limitation in the domain of acquiring and using information,
is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 9 at 2-3
[Pl.'s Mem. of Law].) Second, and lastly, Plaintiff
argues the ALJ's determination that Claimant had less
than marked limitations in the domain of interacting and
relating with others, is not supported by substantial
evidence. (Id. at 3-4.)
in support of her cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings,
Defendant makes one argument. Defendant argues substantial
evidence supports the ALJ's finding that Claimant had a
less than marked limitations in the domains of acquiring and
using information, and interacting and relating with others.
(Dkt. No. 10 at 8-12 [Def.'s Mem. of Law].)
RELEVANT LEGAL STANDARD
reviewing a denial of disability benefits may not determine
de novo whether an individual is disabled. See 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3); Wagner v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 906 F.2d 856,
860 (2d Cir. 1990). Rather, the Commissioner's
determination will only be reversed if the correct legal
standards were not applied, or it was not supported by
substantial evidence. See Johnson v. Bowen, 817 F.2d
983, 986 (2d Cir. 1987) (“Where there is a reasonable
basis for doubt whether the ALJ applied correct legal
principles, application of the substantial evidence standard
to uphold a finding of no disability creates an unacceptable
risk that a claimant will be deprived of the right to have