United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR., CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Theodore Gogos brings this action pursuant to the Social
Security Act seeking review of the denial of his Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) application. ECF No. 1.
The Court has jurisdiction over this action under 42 U.S.C. Â§
parties moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). ECF Nos. 14, 16. For
the reasons that follow, the Commissioner's motion is
GRANTED and Gogos's motion is DENIED.
26, 2014, Gogos protectively filed an application for SSI
alleging disability based on bipolar disorder, attention
deficit and hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”), and
depression. Tr. 170-79, 228. On June 7, 2017, Gogos and a
vocational expert (“VE”) testified at a hearing
before Administrative Law Judge Timothy M. McGuan (“the
ALJ”). Tr. 42. On July 31, 2017, the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision. Tr. 12. On September 5, 2017, the
Appeals Council denied Gogos's request for review. Tr. 1.
This action seeks review of the Commissioner's final
decision. ECF No. 1.
District Court Review
court reviews a final decision of the SSA, it does not
“determine de novo whether [the claimant] is
disabled.” Schaal v. Apfel, 134 F.3d 496, 501
(2d Cir. 1998). Rather, the court “is limited to
determining whether the SSA's conclusions were supported
by substantial evidence in the record and were based on a
correct legal standard.” Talavera v. Astrue,
697 F.3d 145, 151 (2d Cir. 2012) (citing 42 U.S.C. §
405(g)) (other citation omitted). The Commissioner's
decision is “conclusive” if it is supported by
substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
“Substantial evidence means more than a mere scintilla.
It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Moran
v. Astrue, 569 F.3d 108, 112 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations
must follow a five-step sequential evaluation to determine
whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Act.
See Parker v. City of New York, 476 U.S. 467, 470-71
(1986). At step one, the ALJ must determine whether the
claimant is engaged in substantial gainful work activity.
See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(b). If so, the claimant
is not disabled. If not, the ALJ proceeds to step two and
determines whether the claimant has an impairment, or
combination of impairments, that is “severe”
within the meaning of the Act, meaning that it imposes
significant restrictions on the claimant's ability to
perform basic work activities. Id. §
416.920(c). If the claimant does not have a severe impairment
or combination of impairments, the analysis concludes with a
finding of “not disabled.” If the claimant does,
the ALJ continues to step three.
three, the ALJ examines whether a claimant's impairment
meets or medically equals the criteria of a listed impairment
in Appendix 1 of Subpart P of Regulation No. 4 (the
“Listings”). Id. § 416.920(d). If
the impairment meets or medically equals the criteria of a
Listing and meets the durational requirement, the claimant is
disabled. Id. § 416.909. If not, the ALJ
determines the claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”), which is the ability to perform physical
or mental work activities on a sustained basis,
notwithstanding limitations for the collective impairments.
See Id. § 416.920(e)-(f).
then proceeds to step four and determines whether the
claimant's RFC permits him or her to perform the
requirements of his or her past relevant work. Id.
§ 416.920(f). If the claimant can perform such
requirements, then he or she is not disabled. Id. If
he or she cannot, the analysis proceeds to the fifth and
final step, wherein the burden shifts to the Commissioner to
show that the claimant is not disabled. Id. §
416.920(g). To do so, the Commissioner must present evidence
to demonstrate that the claimant “retains a residual
functional capacity to perform alternative substantial
gainful work which exists in the national economy” in