United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
S. Young, Esq.
David Plourde, Esq.
J. McAuliffe United States District Judge
to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), claimant,
Gerald Ahola, moves to reverse or vacate the Acting
Commissioner's decision denying his applications for
Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act, and Supplemental Security Income Benefits under
Title XVI. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 423,
1381-1383c (collectively, the “Act”). The Acting
Commissioner objects and moves for an order affirming her
reasons discussed below, claimant's motion is denied, and
the Acting Commissioner's motion is granted.
March of 2014, claimant filed applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”), alleging that he was
disabled and had been unable to work since July 28, 2008.
Claimant's date last insured was September 30, 2012. At
the time of his alleged onset of disability, claimant was 38
years old. His applications were denied and claimant
requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
April of 2015, claimant, his attorney, and an impartial
vocational expert appeared before an ALJ, who considered
claimant's applications de novo. Six weeks later, 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 his request for
review. Accordingly, the ALJ's denial of claimant's
applications for benefits became the final decision of the
Acting Commissioner, subject to judicial review.
Subsequently, claimant filed a timely action in this court,
asserting that the ALJ's decision is not supported by
then filed a “Motion for Order Reversing the Decision
of the Commissioner” (document no. 8). In response, the
Acting Commissioner filed a “Motion for an Order
Affirming the Decision of the Commissioner” (document
no. 10). 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.
11), 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 ...