This social security action was submitted to the court, without oral argument, for ruling on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion is denied, defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment is granted, and the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) is affirmed.
On April 20, 2007, plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (Act), alleging disability beginning at birth on April 2, 1989, based on an anger problem, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as a result of which he "can't be around people." (Transcript (Tr.) at 147-53, 160.) The application was denied initially on July 16, 2007, and upon reconsideration on November 28, 2007. (Tr. at 80-83, 89-93.) Pursuant to plaintiff's timely request, a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) was commenced on October 1, 2008, but was continued at plaintiff's request so that he could obtain representation. (Tr. at 66-71, 94.) Plaintiff, represented by counsel, subsequently appeared and testified at the administrative hearing on February 3, 2009. (Tr. at 26-65.) Plaintiff's parents also testified at that hearing, as did a vocational expert. (Id.) In a decision issued on May 27, 2009, the ALJ determined that plaintiff had not been under a disability since April 20, 2007, the date his application was filed. (Tr. at 14-25.) The ALJ entered the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 20, 2007, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe combination of impairments: history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (see, e.g., Exhibit 1F, pp. 5-6; Exhibit 2F,
p. 7; Exhibit 4F, p. 2; Exhibit 11F, pp. 4 and 6-7; Exhibit 13F, p. 4), intermittent explosive disorder (see, e.g., Exhibit 13F, p. 4), mood disorder, not otherwise specified (see, e.g., Exhibit 2F, p.7; Exhibit 4F, p. 4), borderline intellectual functioning (see, e.g., Exhibit 2F, p. 7; Exhibit 4F, p. 2; Exhibit 13F, p. 4), organic mental disorder, not otherwise specified (see, e.g., Exhibit 2F, p. 7; Exhibit 4F, p. 2), and facet joint arthropathy of the lumbosacral spine (see, e.g., Exhibit 11F, p. 3) (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.925 and 416.926).
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations: the claimant is limited to work involving simple instructions and having restricted contact with the public and relatively restricted contact with co-workers, meaning that the claimant is able to work in the presence of others but should not be part of a work team or cooperative work process.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on April 2, 1989 and was 18 years old, which is defined as a "younger individual age 18-44," on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has a "limited" education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and 416.969a).
10. The claimant has not been under a "disability," as defined in the Social Security Act, since April 20, 2007, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).
On September 4, 2009, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. at 1-10.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by ...