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HAWKINS v. HECKLER

July 18, 1985

MILDRED K. HAWKINS, for CAROL REILLY, Plaintiff,
v.
MARGARET HECKLER, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DEBEVOISE

 Nature of the Action

 This is an action brought under section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended (hereinafter referred to as the Act), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to review a final determination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (hereinafter referred to as the Secretary), which denied plaintiff's application for child insurance benefits. Plaintiff Mildred Hawkins is assisting claimant Carol Reilly in the pursuit of her claim because Reilly is allegedly unable to do so in light of her emotional condition.

 Procedural History

 The plaintiff applied for child insurance benefits on behalf of her maternal niece, Carol Reilly, on April 19, 1983. The application was based upon the earnings record of Walter A. Reilly, claimant's deceased father (T. 11, 30-35). On this date, plaintiff also filed a request to be selected as payee of the benefits due to Reilly (T. 63-66).

 Plaintiff was informed on June 9, 1983, that Reilly is not entitled to disability benefits (T. 36; See Disability Determination Rationale of June 2, 1983). Plaintiff requested reconsideration of the disapproved claim on June 27, 1983 (T. 39). She also filed a Reconsideration Disability Report, noting essentially the same complaints regarding Reilly's condition (T. 53-58).

 In a notice dated July 11, 1983, plaintiff was informed of the further disapproval of her claim on behalf of Reilly (T. 40-43). A Request for Hearing was then filed on August 23, 1983, along with a supporting statement (T. 44, 59-60).

 On December 2, 1983, a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). Plaintiff and Reilly both appeared (T. 9-29). A decision was rendered on December 27, 1983. The ALJ found that Reilly did not have a disabling impairment prior to her 22nd birthday, and therefore was not entitled to an award of child insurance benefits (T. 7).

 On February 14, 1984, plaintiff requested a review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council. This request was denied on March 13, 1984 (T. 2). Plaintiff then filed an action in Federal District Court on May 11, 1984, on behalf of the claimant Reilly.

 Issue

 The issue to be determined by the court is whether the ALJ's decision to deny disability benefits was supported by substantial evidence.

 Statement of Facts

 Reilly was born on June 19, 1947. Mildred Hawkins, who has known claimant since birth, has cared for her since the death of claimant's father in February 1983. Reilly's mother had died earlier (T. 15, 22-23). Reilly's application for Social Security disability benefits is based upon the earnings of her late father.

 It is alleged that Reilly had become disabled in 1952 when she was five years old (T. 47). A report of the child study department of the South Orange and Maplewood Public Schools, dated October 31, 1952, noted several complications. Among those observed were low-average intelligence, delayed motor development, severe motor disability regarding finger manipulation, seriously delayed practical judgment, seriously retarded social ...


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