United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Mosconas, pro se
G. Smoller, Esq.
J. Barbadoro United States District Judge
Mosconas, who appears pro se, moves to reverse the decision
of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”), as announced by an Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”), to deny her application for
supplemental security income, or SSI, under Title XVI of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1382. The Commissioner,
in turn, moves for an order affirming his decision. For the
reasons that follow, I affirm the Commissioner's
Scope of Review
scope of judicial review of the Commissioner's decision
is as follows:
The [district] court shall have power 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. The findings of the Commissioner of Social
Security as to any fact, if supported by substantial
evidence, shall be conclusive . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (setting out standard of review for
decisions on claims for DIB); see also 42 U.S.C. §
1383(c)(3) (applying § 405(g) to SSI decisions).
However, the court “must uphold a denial of social
security disability benefits unless ‘the [Commissioner]
has committed a legal or factual error in evaluating a
particular claim.'” Manso-Pizarro v. Sec'y
of HHS, 76 F.3d 15, 16 (1st Cir. 1996) (per curiam)
(quoting Sullivan v. Hudson, 490 U.S. 877, 885
was born in 1971. She has worked as a stylist, as a waitress,
as a bartender, and as a business owner/manager, but in the
15 years prior to the ALJ's decision, she did not perform
any of those jobs at a level that qualifies as
“substantial gainful activity” as that term is
defined in the social security regulations. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 416.910 & 416.972. When she applied for SSI,
Mosconas was living in an encampment of homeless people.
of 2015, Mosconas received a physical examination from Dr.
Peter Loeser. He reported a chief complaint of lower
abdominal pain and noted treatment for abdominal problems,
and documentation thereof, dating to the 1990. He also
Currently, the patient notes episodic mild to severe lower
generalized abdominal/pelvic pain, which occurs immediately
when upright (sitting/standing) and builds to a severe level
after 2 hours. The patient notes almost immediate improvement
of these symptoms with laying down.
Transcript (hereinafter “Tr.”) 247. After
examining Mosconas, Dr. Loeser reported
“unremarkable” findings with respect to
Mosconas's: head, ears, eyes, nose, throat, and neck;
cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine; and lower extremities.
With respect to Mosconas's lungs, cardiovascular system,
and abdomen, Dr. Loeser found: “Abdomen with mild
diffuse tenderness to palpation without rebound tenderness or
guarding. Otherwise, unremarkable heart, lung, and abdominal
examination.” Tr. 248. With respect to her upper
extremities, he found:
The patient den[ies] any range of motion in the right
shoulder with associated pain both actively and passively -
keeping her elbow locked at her side. Mild generalized pain
on palpation of the right glenohumeral joint without
crepitus, effusion, or atrophy of the supporting musculature.
Otherwise, unremarkable upper extremity examination . . . .
Tr. 249. Finally, with respect to gait and station, Dr.
Areas examined with expected normal findings: Normal ability
to sit and stand, step up and down, get on and off the
examination table, remove and put back on shoes, squat and
rise from a squat, ambulate, and walk on toes and heels.
[Exceptions to these findings noted below.]
Pertinent findings during this examination: The patient is
able to perform the above tasks without ...