Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Perdomo v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 5, 2019

JACQUELINE PERDOMO on behalf of X.M., a minor,, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,, Defendant.

          OPINION

          KEVIN MCNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Jacqueline Perdomo brings this action on behalf of X.M., a minor, pursuant to 45 U.S.C. § 405(g) to review a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her claim for child's Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under the Social Security Act ("SSA").

         For the reasons set forth below, I remand this action to the Appeals Council to consider new evidence.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Ms. Perdomo seeks to reverse a decision that her child, X.M., was not disabled and not entitled to child's SSI. Ms. Perdomo originally applied for SSI on behalf of X.M. in May 2012, with a protective filing date of April 30, 2012, when X.M. was five years old. (R. 170-75, 216). The claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration on July 9, 2014. (R. 88-90, 94-96).

         A hearing was held before an ALJ on February 7, 2014. (R. 43-66, 100-07). Ms. Perdomo and X.M. testified. [Id.). On July 11, 2014 die ALJ rendered a decision denying benefits. (R. 16-37) On December 9, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Ms. Perdomo's request for review of the AUJ's decision. (R. 1-4). Ms. Perdomo then appealed to federal court, where the case was assigned to me. (R. 439-43; see 16-cv-644 (KM)). On July 21, 2016, I issued a consent order remanding the case back to the Appeals Council to vacate its prior denial of Ms. Perdomo's request for review, allow Ms. Perdomo's representative review the administrative record and submit a brief, and, finally, process the request for review. (R. 442; see Consent Order, DE 9, 16-cv-655 (KM)). After taking those tiiree steps, January 9, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Ms. Perdomo's request for review, (R. 419-25), rendering it the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Ms. Perdomo appealed to this Court, asserting that the Commissioner erred in denying benefits or in the alternative that the case should be remanded for die consideration of additional evidence. (See DE 1; PI. Br.).

         I focus here on Ms. Perdomo's claim tiiat tiie Commissioner erred in declining to supplement the record to include new school IEP records, and that this case should be remanded so that tiiose records can be considered. (PI. Br. p. 30). Because I agree with that argument, I do not reach her other tiiree claims of error, which could be mooted on remand.[2]

         II. DISCUSSION

         I consider Ms. Perdomo's argument that the Court should order a "new evidence" remand of the case pursuant to either "Sentence Four" or "Sentence Six."[3] (PI. Br. pp. 26-28).

         The new evidence to which Ms. Perdomo refers consists of the December 18, 2015[4] school records from Newark Board of Education, Robert Clemente School (hereinafter, the "December 18, 2015 IEP" or the "2015 IEP")• (DE 18 pp. 27-28; DE 21 pp. 4-5). The SSA Appeals Council declined to supplement the record to permit consideration of the information in the 2015 IEP. The basis for its decision was the date of the records (Dec, 18, 2015), which fell after the relevant period of alleged disability. (See R. 420 ("We also looked at the records from your [IEP], dated December 18, 2015 . . . the Administrative Law Judge decided your case through July 11, 2014. This new information is about a later time. Therefore, it does not affect the decision about whether you were disabled beginning on or before July 11, 2014.").

         I note that the Appeals Council continued, "If you want us to consider whether you were disabled after July 11, 2014, you need to apply again." (Id.). It appears that Ms. Perdomo did apply again in 2016, and that this time the application for DIB was approved.[5]

         As to all legal issues, this Court conducts a plenary review. See Schaudeck v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 181 F.3d 429, 431 (3d Cir. 1999). As to factual findings, this Court adheres to the ALJ's findings, as long as they are supported by substantial evidence. Jones v. Bamhart, 364 F.3d 501, 503 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)). Where facts are disputed, this Court will "determine whether the administrative record contains substantial evidence supporting the findings." Sykes v. Apfel, 228 F.3d 259, 262 (3d Cir. 2000). "Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Zimsak v. Colvin, 777 F.3d 607, 610 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Substantial evidence "is more than a mere scintilla but may be somewhat less than a preponderance of the evidence." Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         The court has two options when deciding whether to remand a Commissioner's decision. When the Appeals Council has denied review, the court may apply "Sentence Four" review to "affirm, modify, or reverse the Commissioner's decision, witii or without a remand based on the record that was made before the ALJ." Matthews v. Apfel,239 F.3d 589, 593 (3d Cir. 2001); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). However, Sentence Four review is inappropriate when, as here, the claimant asks the court to review the Appeals Council's decision to not consider evidence that also was not before the ALJ. Matthews, 239 F.3d at 594. That being said, the Court may remand the Case to die Commissioner under "Sentence Six" review if the claimant seeks to rely on "new and material" ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.