United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge
by counsel, Arthur Hennelly ("Plaintiff")
instituted this action pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act ("the Act"), seeking review of
the final decision of the Acting Commissioner of Social
Security ("the Commissioner")denying his
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income
("SSI"). This Court has jurisdiction over the
matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c).
January 6, 2012, Plaintiff protectively filed an application
for DIB. On January 12, 2012, Plaintiff protectively filed an
application for SSI. In both applications, Plaintiff alleged
disability beginning April 1, 2011, due to depression,
anxiety, an inability to concentrate, and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder. (T.138). These claims were denied
initially on March 20, 2012. (T.63-74). Plaintiff filed a
written request for hearing on March 23, 2012. (T.75-76). A
hearing was held before administrative law judge David S.
Lewandowski ("the ALJ") on April 1, 2013, in
Buffalo, New York. (See T.32-58). Plaintiff appeared
with his attorney and testified. Jay Steinbrenner, an
impartial vocational expert ("the VE"), also
appeared and testified.
the hearing, upon the advice of his attorney, Plaintiff
amended the alleged onset date to June 15, 2011.
Additionally, Plaintiff s attorney submitted a statement
authored by Plaintiff s parents, which was added to the
record as Exhibit 8E.
April 24, 2013, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision.
(T.16-31). Plaintiffs request for review by the Appeals
Council was denied on September 15, 2014, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
(T.l-6). This timely action followed.
parties have cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The Court adopts and incorporates by reference
herein the undisputed and comprehensive factual summaries
contained in the parties' briefs. The record will be
discussed in more detail below as necessary to the resolution
of this appeal. For the reasons that follow, the
Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
followed the five-step sequential evaluation procedure
established by the Commissioner for adjudicating disability
claims. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520,
one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff meets the insured status
requirements of the Act through September 30, 2013, and has
not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 15,
2011, the amended alleged onset, date.
two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following
severe impairments: depressive disorder and generalized
three, the ALJ found that the severity of the Plaintiff's
menial impairments, considered singly and in combination, do
not meet or medically equal the criteria of Listing 12.04
(Affective Disorders) or Listing 12.06 (Anxiety Related
Disorders). (T.22-23). Applying the special technique for
evaluation of mental impairments, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff has "mild restriction" in activities in
daily living; "moderate difficulties" in social
functioning; "mild difficulties" in maintaining
concentration, persistence or pace; and had experienced no
episodes of decompensation of extended duration. (T.22).
to proceeding to step four, the ALJ assessed Plaintiff as
having the residual functional capacity ("RFC") the
to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonexertional limitations: he is able to
understand, remember and carry out simple instructions and
perform simple tasks with no or limited proximity to