United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.
Brett Michael Dulaney ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security, ("Defendant" or "Commissioner") denying his application for supplemental security income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383f ("Act"). This matter comes before the Court upon cross-motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 9, 11). The record has been developed at the administrative level. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment will be DENIED, and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.
II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff filed for SSI with the Social Security Administration on September 2, 2010, claiming an inability to work beginning on December 31, 2004, due to major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. (R. at 71, 127). On January 7, 2011, Plaintiff's application was denied and on March 27, 2011, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (R. at 72). A hearing was held before the ALJ, Daniel F. Cusick, on March 13, 2012. (R. at 28). The ALJ denied Plaintiff's claim for SSI in a decision dated March 27, 2012. (R. at 19). Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council was denied on June 26, 2013, at which time the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. (R. at 1). On August 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed her complaint in this Court. (ECF No. 3). Defendant filed an answer on November 8, 2013. (ECF No. 6). These pending cross motions for summary judgment followed. (ECF Nos. 9, 11).
III. STATEMENT OF THE CASE
a. The ALJ's decision
In his decision denying SSI to Plaintiff, the ALJ made the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 2, 2010, the application date;
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder;
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1;
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels except he must: be limited to one or two step tasks; entail only simple, routine and repetitive tasks, involving only simple, work-related decisions with few, if any, work place changes; and entail no interaction with the public and only occasional interaction with co-workers with no tandem tasks;
5. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a dishwasher. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity;
6. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since September 2, 2010, the ...