United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Cintron (“Plaintiff”), represented by counsel,
brings this action pursuant to Title XVI of the Social
Security Act, challenging the final decision of Nancy A.
Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“the
Commissioner”) denying her application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”). The Court has
jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
filed an application for SSI on April 18, 2013, alleging
disability since February 4, 2009, primarily due to
post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”),
depression, and anxiety. Plaintiff's application was
denied, and she requested a hearing. Administrative law judge
William M. Manico (“the ALJ”) held a
videoconference hearing on December 9, 2014, which Plaintiff
asked to postpone in order to obtain representation. It was
rescheduled for April 1, 2015, and Plaintiff appeared with
counsel and testified, as did impartial vocational expert
Mark Pinti (“the VE”). (T.37-63). In a decision
dated April 17, 2015, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not
disabled. (T.14-36). Plaintiff's request for review by the
Appeals Council was denied on November 10, 2016, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
This timely action followed.
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 reversed, and the matter is
remanded for calculation and payment of benefits.
first step of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff had not engaged in any substantial gainful activity
since April 18, 2013, the application date. (T.22). At the
second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the
following severe impairments: PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
(T.22-23). The ALJ found that her alleged impulse control
disorder and hallucinations/delusions are not medically
determinable impairments diagnosed by an acceptable medical
source,  and accordingly are not severe.
third step, the ALJ found that Plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
(T.23-25). In particular, the ALJ considered Listing 12.04,
Listing 12.06A, and Listing 12.06B.
then assessed Plaintiff as having the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform the full range of
work at all exertional levels, with the following
non-exertional limitations: She can perform unskilled work
with simple instructions where interactions with others are
routine, superficial and related to the work performed; her
interactions with others were limited to no more than
approximately one third of the work day; she needs a regular
work break approximately every two hours; and she cannot do
fast-paced assembly work. (T.25).
fourth step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had no past
relevant work. (T.32).
fifth step, the ALJ relied on the VE's testimony to find
that, based on Plaintiff's age (37 years-old), education
(at least a high school diploma), work experience, and RFC,
there are jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy that Plaintiff can perform. (T.32-33).
Specifically, the VE identified the jobs of warehouse worker
(Dictionary of Occupational Titles (“DOT”)
#922.687-058), of which there are 250, 000 jobs nationwide
and 1, 500 jobs statewide; and cleaner (DOT #323.687-014), of
which there are 300, 000 jobs nationwide and 6, 000 jobs
statewide. Therefore, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not
disabled as defined in the Act. (T.33).
considering a claimant's challenge to the decision of the
Commissioner denying benefits under the Act, the district
court is limited to determining whether the
Commissioner's findings were supported by substantial
record evidence and whether the Commissioner employed the
proper legal standards. Green-Younger v. Barnhart,
335 F.3d 99, 105-06 (2d Cir. 2003). The district court must
accept the Commissioner's findings of fact, provided that
such findings are supported by “substantial
evidence” in the record. See 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) (the Commissioner's findings “as to any
fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be
conclusive”). The reviewing court nevertheless must
scrutinize the whole record and examine evidence that
supports or detracts from both sides. Tejada v.
Apfel, 167 F.3d 770, 774 (2d Cir. 1998) (citation
omitted). “The ...