United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
by counsel, plaintiff James Edwin Robinson
(“Plaintiff”) brings this action pursuant to
Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the “Act”),
seeking review of the final decision of defendant the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security (the
“Commissioner” or “Defendant”)
denying his application for supplemental security income
(“SSI”). The Court has jurisdiction over this
matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Presently before
the Court are the parties' cross-motions for judgment on
the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiff's motion is denied and the Commissioner's
motion is granted.
filed an application for SSI on December 28, 2012, alleging
disability as of December 1, 2012 due to back injury, knee
injury, high blood pressure, and asthma. Administrative
Transcript (“T.”) 58. Plaintiff's application
was initially denied. T. 71-74. At Plaintiff's request, a
hearing was held before administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) William Weir on September 22, 2015, at
which Plaintiff appeared with his representative. T. 34-56.
On March 12, 2015, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. T.
17-33. On June 16, 2016, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's
determination the Commissioner's final decision. T. 8-14.
This action followed.
The ALJ's Decision
determining whether Plaintiff was disabled, the ALJ applied
the five-step sequential evaluation set forth in 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920. At step one of the five-step
sequential evaluation, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had
not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December
28, 2012, the date of his application. T. 22.
two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff suffered from the severe
impairments of hypertension, major depressive disorder,
substance abuse in apparent current remission, obesity, and
degenerative joint disease of the knee. Id. The ALJ
further found that Plaintiff's claimed back problems and
asthma were not severe impairments. Id.
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of any listed impairment.
Id. The ALJ particularly considered Listings 1.02,
4.00H1, 12.04, and 12.09 in reaching this conclusion. T.
proceeding to step four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §
416.967(b), with the following additional limitations: must
have the option to sit or stand every half-hour; cannot work
in an environment with pulmonary irritants such as gases,
dust, or fumes above OSHA standards; and can perform the
ordinary tasks associated with unskilled work. T. 24.
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had no past relevant work.
T. 29. At step five, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a
vocational expert (“VE”) to conclude that,
considering Plaintiff's age, education, work experience,
and RFC, there were jobs that exist in significant numbers in
the national economy that Plaintiff could perform, including
the representative occupations of stock checker and cafeteria
attendant. T. 29-30. Accordingly, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff was not disabled as defined in the Act. T. 30.
Scope of Review
district court may set aside the Commissioner's
determination that a claimant is not disabled only if the
factual findings are not supported by “substantial
evidence” or if the decision is based on legal error.
42 U.S.C. § ...