United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Barbadoro, United States District Judge.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Stephanie Champine moves to
reverse the Acting Commissioner's decision to deny her
application for supplemental security income, or SSI, under
Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1382.
The Acting Commissioner, in turn, moves for an order
affirming her decision. For the reasons that follow, the
decision of the Acting Commissioner, as announced by the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), is affirmed.
parties have submitted a Joint Statement of Material Facts.
That statement, doc. no. 11, is part of the court's
record and will be summarized here, rather than repeated in
Champine graduated from high school in 2009 with a regular
diploma, testing had revealed a full-scale intelligence
quotient (“IQ”) of 85, a verbal IQ of 75, and a
performance IQ of 99. Testing conducted in July 2015 revealed
a full-scale IQ of 77, a verbal IQ of 70, and a performance
IQ of 90.
April 2013, Champine applied for SSI, claiming that she had
been disabled since January 1, 2007 as a result of depression
and bipolar disorder. Subsequently, Champine amended the
alleged onset date of her disability to July 19, 2012, and at
her hearing before the ALJ, she “testified . . . that
she [was] unable to work because of depression, anxiety, and
difficulty reading and doing arithmetic.”
Administrative Transcript (hereinafter “Tr.”) 15.
Disability Determination Explanation (“DDE”) form
that was completed by the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) in July 2013, Dr. Edward Hurley, a
psychological consultant who reviewed the evidence that had
been provided to the SSA, determined that “[n]o mental
medically determinable impairments [had been]
established.” Tr. 120, 130. He continued:
No detailed psychological eval[uation] is on file to provide
an MDI [medically determinable impairment], no SSA acceptable
source diagnosis, claimant and rep[resentative] have not
responded to attempts to obtain additional information or to
state whether she would attend a CE [consultative
examination] i[f] we reschedule (missed first CE before being
transferred from NH). There is insufficient evidence to
establish an MDI or to rate the severity of the
claimant's conditions due to failure to
Tr. 120, 130. In a second DDE form, completed about three
months after the first one, another psychological consultant,
Dr. Joseph Patalano, reached the same conclusions that Dr.
Hurley had reached. Tr. 140.
October of 2014, Champine was seen by Dr. Jeffrey Kay for a
consultative examination. Tr. 700. As a result of his
examination, Dr. Kay produced a Mental Health Evaluation
Report in which he gave diagnoses of: (1) attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”), combined type;
and (2) major depressive disorder, recurrent, mild. Tr. 703.
He did not, however, diagnose any mental impairment relating
to Champine's intellectual capacity. He also provided the
following opinions on Champine's then-current level of
Activities of Daily Living: . . . She is able to take
independent and consistent care of her 1-year old daughter
and most of her housework and shopping. She is able to drive
and maintain hygiene. She is not able to pay bills
Social Functioning: . . . Although I saw no signs of
irritability during the interview, I am inclined to believe
her report that she is very easily irritated and becomes
explosive. I do not believe that she is currently capable of
consistently interacting appropriately with peers,
supervisors or the public.
Understanding and Remembering Instructions: . . . She is able
to understand and remember simple instructions but her
nursing home [employment] experience suggests that she cannot
consistently and independently remember detailed
Concentration and Task Completion: . . . She was very
distracted by soft music playing outside of my office. She is
able to complete most of the tasks that she currently
undertakes but she is unable to maintain an appropriate pace.
Reaction to Stress, Adaptation to Work or Work-like
Situations: . . . She is easily stressed and when stressed
she tends to cry, become very irritable and may have a panic
attack. She is able to maintain attendance and a schedule but
cannot consistently accept supervision unless it is very
patient and respectful. She is able to make simple decisions.
Tr. 702-03. Under a heading asking him to list the signs,
symptoms, and reasoning that supported his diagnoses, Dr. Kay
Her need for special education [while in high school], her
inability to do serial 7s or spell [‘]world[']
backwards, her distraction by music outside my office, her
ability to focus on visual but not on auditory stimuli, and
her constant irritability suggest ADHD rather than Bipolar
Disorder. Manic symptoms do not recur concomitantly. The
abusive relationship [several years ago, during her teens]
has also contributed to her irritability. The abuse and the
ADHD are probably responsible for her recurrent depression
and her panic attacks.
conducting a hearing, the ALJ issued a decision that includes
the following relevant findings of fact and conclusions of
2. The claimant has the following medically determinable
impairment[s]: depression, acid peptic disease and obesity