United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. SAPORITO, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an action brought under 42 U.S.C. §1383(c) and 42 U.S.C.
§405(g), seeking judicial review of the Commissioner of
Social Security's (“Commissioner”) final
decision denying Jason Von Esser's claims for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income under
Title XVI of the Social Security Act. Jurisdiction is
conferred on this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g)
and 42 U.S.C. §1383(c)(3).
matter has been referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge for the preparation of the report and
recommended disposition pursuant to the provisions of and 28
U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure.
reasons stated herein, we find that the ALJ's decision is
not supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, we
recommend that the final decision denying Von Esser's
application for benefits be vacated and that case be remanded
to the Commissioner.
Esser, is an adult individual born August 16, 1986. Von Esser
was twenty-four years of age at the time of his alleged onset
of disability-January 15, 2011. (Tr. 20, 64). Von Esser's
age at the onset date makes him a “younger
person” under the Commissioner's regulations, whose
age generally does not affect his ability to adjust to other
work. See 20 C.F.R. §416.963.
September 10, 2013, Von Esser protectively filed an
application for benefits under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act alleging disability as of January 15, 2011. In
his application, Von Esser alleged that the following
impairments prevent him from engaging in any work:
social/general anxiety disorder, depression, insomnia, and
panic attacks. (Tr. 64).
Esser's claim was initially denied on December 11, 2013.
Thereafter, on January 30, 2014, Von Esser filed a timely
request for an administrative hearing. His request was
granted. Von Esser appeared and testified before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Michele Stolls
on April 20, 2015. Von Esser was represented by counsel, John
D. Michelin, throughout the proceeding. In addition,
impartial vocational expert (“VE”) Nadine Henzes
also appeared and testified during the administrative
5, 2015, the ALJ denied Von Esser's application for
benefits in a written decision. On June 5, 2015, Von Esser
sought further review of his claims by the Appeals Council,
but his request was denied on September 13, 2016. This makes
the ALJ's May 5, 2015, decision the final decision
subject to judicial review by this Court.
Esser filed a timely complaint in this Court on October 20,
2016. (Doc. 1). In his complaint, Von Esser alleges that the
final decision of the Commissioner is not supported by
substantial evidence, contains errors of law, and should be
reversed and/or remanded for a new hearing.
December 27, 2016, the Commissioner filed her answer, in
which she maintains that the ALJ's decision was made in
accordance with the law and is supported by substantial
evidence. (Doc. 9).
matter has been fully briefed by the parties and is ripe for
decision. (Docs. 11, 12, and 13).
Statement of Facts
Esser was born on August 16, 1986, and at the time of his
administrative hearing he was twenty-eight years of age. (Tr.
64). He completed a twelfth grade education and attended some
college, but never received a college degree. (Tr. 111). Von
Esser currently lives with his parents in the Middle District
of Pennsylvania. (Tr. 40). Von Esser previously worked as a
planogram team member at Target from October 2010 through
January 2011. (Tr. 111). He claimed that his social and
general anxiety order, depression, and panic attacks prevent
him from working. (Tr. 64).
Esser stated he does not help with chores around the house.
He watches his dog and takes it for walks. (Tr. 41, 52). Von
Esser stated that he plays video games during the day by
himself and online, and watches television. (Tr. 56).
Recently, he started cooking for himself because his mother
is sick. (Tr. 52).
Esser stated that he has a girlfriend. She comes to visit him
at his parents' home where they hang out in his bedroom,
watch television, play games, and eat meals together. He
stated that they go ...