United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
J. McAuliffe United States District Judge.
to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), claimant,
Tina Robinson, moves to reverse or vacate the Acting
Commissioner's decision denying her 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 granted,
and the Acting Commissioner's motion is denied.
of 2013, 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 June 15, 2013 (she subsequently
amended her onset of disability to October 31, 2013).
Claimant was 50 years old at the time and she had acquired
sufficient quarters of coverage to remain insured through
December 31, 2016. Those applications were denied and
claimant requested a hearing before an Administrative Law
of 2015, claimant, her representative, and a 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 requested review by the
Appeals Council. That request was denied. 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 evidence.
then filed a “Motion for Order Reversing 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. 12). 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.
13), need not be recounted in this opinion. Those facts
relevant to the disposition of this matter are discussed as
“Substantial Evidence” and Deferential Review.
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' ...