The opinion of the court was delivered by: KEENAN
JOHN F. KEENAN, United States District Judge:
This is an action brought by plaintiff under § 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended (the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), for review of a final determination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the "Secretary") that denied plaintiff's application for federal disability insurance benefits.
The action is currently before this Court upon a motion by the plaintiff for judgment on the pleadings, pursuant to rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, reversing the determination of the Secretary on the ground that the decision was not supported by substantial evidence and upon a motion of the defendant for an order remanding this case to the Secretary.
On September 20, 1979, plaintiff Angelina Carrillo filed an application with the Social Security Administration ("SSA") of the Department of Health and Human Services for Disability Insurance benefits under title II of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-431, as a disabled wage earner. She alleged an August 4, 1978 onset date, the month she last worked.
Her application was denied throughout the administrative appeals process which included a de novo hearing before an administrative law judge ("ALJ") of the SSA's Office of Hearings and Appeals ("OHA"). When the OHA's Appeals Council refused plaintiff's request to review the ALJ's October 10, 1980 decision, that decision became a final decision of the Secretary and reviewable by a district court under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Plaintiff's court appeal resulted in a September 19, 1981 opinion and order (Robert W. Sweet, J.) remanding her application to the Secretary for further administrative proceedings.
On remand, the case was heard by the same ALJ, who, on March 16, 1983, issued a recommended decision to the Appeals Council that plaintiff was disabled only as of August 1, 1982. He denied the remaining portion of her claim on the ground that her impairment was not severe prior to August 1, 1982. The Appeals Council adopted the ALJ's recommendation on July 29, 1983, but modified the date of the beginning of her disability to July 27, 1982.
Plaintiff then filed a supplemental complaint, reopening this action, and the Secretary filed a supplemental answer.
Plaintiff asserts two grounds for reversal of the Secretary's determination that she did not become disabled until August 1, 1982. The first ground is that the ALJ's findings on remand with respect to the period prior to August 1, 1982 were not in compliance with the opinion of the district court ordering remand. Second, plaintiff contends that the ALJ's finding that plaintiff was not disabled prior to August 1, 1982 was not supported by substantial evidence and that his evaluation was marred by the use of erroneous legal standards. The Secretary argues that the action should be remanded to the SSA because the regulation under which plaintiff was found to be not disabled prior to August 1, 1982 was later determined to be invalid. See Dixon v. Heckler, 83 Civ. 7001 (S.D.N.Y. July 25, 1984).The Secretary argues that remand is appropriate so that plaintiff's alleged disability can be examined under the correct standard of law. For the reasons stated below, plaintiff's motion is granted and the motion of the Secretary is denied.
In ruling on the appeal from the original determination of the Secretary, Judge Sweet found that the ALJ's decision that plaintiff was capable of returning to her work as a sewing machine operator was not supported by substantial evidence. More specifically, he found that the fact that plaintiff could prepare her own meals, occasionally did light shopping, if accompanied, and used public transportation to get to her own hearing did not constitute substantial evidence to discredit claimant's assertions of pain.He also found that the statement of plaintiff's treating physicians that she was unable to return to work or otherwise seek ...