United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
by counsel, Amanda Baker (“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 her application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). The Court
has jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g), 1383(c).
17, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Title II application for a period
of disability and DIB. She also protectively filed a Title
XVI application for SSI on July 17, 2012. In both
applications, she alleged disability beginning July 7, 2012.
These claims were denied initially on October 15, 2012.
Plaintiff filed a written request for hearing on October 19,
2012. On December 3, 2013, administrative law judge Eric L.
Glazer (“the ALJ”) held a hearing in Buffalo, New
York, at which Plaintiff appeared with her attorney and
testified. Through her attorney, Plaintiff amended her onset
date to July 30, 2011. The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision
on February 28, 2014. Plaintiff's request for review by
the Appeals Council was denied on March 15, 2015, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
Plaintiff then timely commenced this action.
and Defendant have cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The Court will discuss the record evidence further
below, as necessary to the resolution of the parties'
contentions. For the reasons set forth herein, the
Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
The ALJ's Decision
found, at step one, that Plaintiff meets the insured status
requirements of the Act through September 30, 2013, and has
not engaged in substantial gainful activity
(“SGA”) since July 30, 2011, the alleged onset
date. Although Plaintiff began working full-time as a
leather-cutter in October of 2013, this does not rise to the
level of SGA. She also worked as a keeper/aide to seniors
from May of 2011, to June of 2012; and for Marshall's
department store from July of 2013, to August 2013. However,
these positions were performed on a part-time basis and did
not rise to the level of SGA.
two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the following
“severe” impairments: mild gastroesophogeal
reflux disease (“GERD”), gastritis,
gastroparesis, dysthymic disorder, and anxiety disorder.
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of a listed impairment. In
particular, the ALJ determined that the severity of
Plaintiff's mental impairments, considered singly and in
combination, do not meet or medically equal the criteria of
listings 12.02 and 12.04. The ALJ determined that the
paragraph “B” criteria are not met because
Plaintiff has no limitations in activities of daily living or
social functioning, only mild limitations in maintaining
concentration, persistence or pace, and has not experienced
any periods of decompensation. The ALJ found that the
paragraph “C” criteria are not met because
Plaintiff has not experienced any periods of decompensation,
a required criterion under paragraph “C”.
proceeded to find that Plaintiff has the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform a full range of work
at all exertional levels with the following nonexertional
limitations: she is able to perform simple, routine, and
repetitive tasks, including work that involves only simple
multiplication or division, or both.
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing
her past relevant work as a fast food worker (light exertion,
unskilled), because this work does not require the
performance of work-related activities precluded by her RFC.
did not perform an alternative step five analysis and entered
a finding that Plaintiff had not been under a disability as
defined in the Act throughout the relevant period.