United States District Court, E.D. New York
the Plaintiff: CHRISTOPHER JAMES BOWES Center for Disability
the Defendant: BRIDGET M. ROHDE Acting United States Attorney
Eastern District CANDACE SCOTT APPLETON Assistant U.S.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
FREDERIC BLOCK SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Young (“Young”), who formerly worked as a
counselor and aide at a home for cerebral palsy patients,
seeks review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying her
application for disability benefits under the Social Security
Act. Both parties move for judgment on the pleadings. For the
reasons stated below, the Commissioner's motion is denied
and Young's motion is granted insofar as the case is
remanded for further proceedings.
2013, Young filed an application for Disability Insurance
Benefits. She alleged disability, as of March 1, 2013, from
cerebral palsy and headaches. The Social Security
Administration denied her application, and she had a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).
Applying the familiar five-step evaluation process,
ALJ determined that: (1) although Young had engaged in work
activity from March 2013 through January 2015, there may have
been a continuous 12-month period during which she did not
engage in substantial gainful activity; (2) her degenerative
disc disease, cerebral palsy, uneven leg length, asthma, and
headaches were severe impairments; but (3) they did not meet
or medically equal the criteria of an impairment listed in 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
then determined that Young had the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform sedentary work with
certain restrictions. Applying this RFC to the remaining
steps, the ALJ determined that (4) Young was unable to
perform her past relevant work as a home health aide, but (5)
there were jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy that Young could perform, namely addressor,
order clerk, and final assembler.
Appeals Council denied Young's request for review,
rendering final the ALJ's decision to deny benefits.
Young timely sought judicial review.
reviewing a final decision of the Commissioner, a district
court must determine whether the correct legal standards were
applied and whether substantial evidence supports the
decision.” Butts v. Barnhart, 388 F.3d 377,
384 (2d Cir. 2004); see also 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). “[S]ubstantial evidence . . . means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); see also Selian
v. Astrue, 708 F.3d 409, 417 (2d Cir. 2013). Young
argues that the ALJ's RFC determination was not supported
by substantial evidence. The Court agrees.
determined that Young had the RFC to perform sedentary work
with the following restrictions: (1) lift or carry up to 10
pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently; (2)
stand or walk with normal breaks for up to 2 hours in an
8hour work day; (3) sit for up to 6 hours in an 8-hour work
day; (4) occasionally climb ramps or stairs but never
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; (5) occasionally balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; and (6) never work around
hazards like heights, machinery, dangerous equipment, fumes,
odors, dusts, smoke, gases, and poor ventilation.
See Administrative Record (“AR”) at 24.
The ALJ's RFC determination was based on Young's
hearing testimony, medical history, and the medical opinions
of multiple physicians. Id. at 24-27.
failed to properly determine Young's credibility, failed
to properly weigh the medical evidence, and failed to rely on
any expert medical opinion in support of her RFC
determination. The RFC determination was therefore not based
on substantial evidence.