United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Raymond J. Kelly, Esq.
J. McAuliffe United States District Judge.
to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), claimant,
Jodie Nickerson, moves to reverse the Acting
Commissioner's decision denying her applications for
Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 423, and Supplemental Security
Income Benefits under Title XVI, 42 U.S.C. §§ 423,
1381-1383c (the “Act”). The Acting Commissioner
objects and moves for an order affirming her decision.
reasons discussed below, claimant's motion is granted,
and the Acting Commissioner's motion is denied.
November of 2012, claimant filed applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”), alleging that she was
disabled and had been unable to work since November of 2009.
Claimant was 34 years old at the time of her alleged onset of
disability. Her applications were denied, and claimant
requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
of 2014, claimant, her attorney, and an impartial vocational
expert appeared before an ALJ, who considered claimant's
applications de novo. On July 7, 2014, the ALJ issued his
written decision, concluding that claimant was not disabled,
as that term is defined in the Act, at any time prior to the
date of his decision. Claimant then sought review by the
Appeals Council, which denied her request for review.
Accordingly, the ALJ's denial of claimant's
applications for benefits became the final decision of the
Commissioner, subject to judicial review. Subsequently,
claimant filed a timely action in this court, asserting that
the ALJ's decision is not supported by substantial
then filed a “Motion to Reverse” the decision of
the Acting Commissioner (document no. 8). In response, the
Acting Commissioner filed a “Motion for an Order
Affirming the Decision of the Commissioner” (document
no. 11). Those motions are pending.
to this court's Local Rule 9.1, the parties have
submitted a joint statement of stipulated facts which,
because it is part of the court's record (document no.
12), need not be recounted in this opinion. Those facts
relevant to the disposition of this matter are discussed as
“Substantial Evidence” and Deferential
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the court is empowered “to
enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a
judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without
remanding the cause for a rehearing.” Factual findings
and credibility determinations made by the Commissioner are
conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. See
42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3). See also
Irlanda Ortiz v. Secretary of Health & Human
Services, 955 F.2d 765, 769 (1st Cir. 1991). Substantial
evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229
(1938). Importantly, it is something less than a
preponderance of the evidence, so the possibility of drawing
two inconsistent conclusions from the evidence does not
prevent an administrative agency's finding from being
supported by substantial evidence. Consolo v. Federal
Maritime Comm'n., 383 U.S. 607, 620 (1966). See
also Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971).
The Parties' ...