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Vincent v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. New York

January 15, 2020

MARIA LYNN VINCENT, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH HILLER, PLLC Counsel for Plaintiff KELLY ELIZABETH LAGA-SCIANDRA, ESQ. KENNETH R. HILLER, ESQ.

          U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN. OFFICE OF REG'L GEN. COUNSEL - REGION II Counsel for Defendant ARIELLA RENEE ZOLTAN, ESQ.

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          J. Gregory Wehrman, U.S. Magistrate Judge

         The parties consented in accordance with a standing order to proceed before the undersigned. The court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The matter is presently before the court on the parties' cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon review of the administrative record and consideration of the parties' filings, the Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record is DENIED, the Defendant's motion for judgment on the administrative record is GRANTED, and the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff was born on January 30, 1990, and graduated high school. (Tr. 197, 22). Generally, Plaintiff's alleged disability consists of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and chronic back pain. (Tr. 201). Her alleged onset date of disability is August 1, 2011. (Tr. 197).

         B. Procedural History

         On June 23, 2014, Plaintiff applied for a period of Disability Insurance Benefits (“SSD”) under Title II and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. (Tr. 156-168). Plaintiff's application was initially denied, after which she timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”). On March 9, 2017, Plaintiff appeared before the ALJ, Sharon Seeley. (Tr. 12). On October 4, 2017, ALJ Seeley issued a written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled under the Social Security Act. (Tr. 9-24). On October 30, 2018, the Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's request for review, rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-8). Thereafter, Plaintiff timely sought judicial review in this Court.

         C. The ALJ's Decision

         Generally, in her decision, the ALJ made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2012.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 1, 2011, the application date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”) and cocaine dependency/abuse (20 CFR 44.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations. The claimant can: understand, remember and carry out simple, routine instructions and tasks, and maintain attention and concentration sufficient for such tasks with customary work breaks; have occasional, incidental interaction with coworkers and the general public; work in an environment with no exposure to large groups of people or to noise above a moderate level such as that found in a business office, supermarket, or department store; and work in a low-stress environment, meaning one with no supervisory responsibilities, no independent decision making required except with respect to simple, routine work related decisions, no work at a highly speeded production rate pace required, and minimal changes to work routines, processes and settings.
6. The claimant, having never been employed at the level of substantial gainful activity, has no past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on January 30, 1990, and was 21 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1534 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1568 and 416.968).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from August 1, 2011, through the date of the decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

(Tr. 9 -24).

         II. THE PARTIES' BRIEFINGS ON ...


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