eligibility until a period after that for which his or her application was in effect, the claimant must file a new application for benefits. Id. Moreover, the Appeals Council will consider new and material evidence only if it relates to the period on or before the date of the ALJ's decision. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1476 (1996).
In this case, plaintiff has offered no evidence bearing upon the period of coverage which contradicts the ALJ's finding that she was not disabled during that claim period. Indeed, plaintiff's evidence, including the materials attached to her memorandum of law, indicates that she did not begin to exhibit symptoms of hemoglobin SC disease until August 1993, more than a month after the ALJ's decision, with more severe symptoms not developing until 1994. There is thus no conceivable merit to plaintiff's contention that the ALJ's decision denying her benefits was not supported by substantial evidence.
The only other issue left for the Court to resolve is whether, under such circumstances, the Commissioner breached a duty to plaintiff to advise her of her right to file a new application for benefits. With respect to that issue, the Commissioner does have a regulation which provides that where a claimant submits new evidence to the Appeals Council which does not relate to the period of coverage, the Appeals Council will return the additional evidence with an explanation as to why it did not accept the evidence, and will advise the claimant of his or her right to file a new application. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1476. However, in this case, plaintiff's new evidence was not submitted until after the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review. Therefore, that duty was never triggered. The Commissioner's regulations impose no similar duty where information is submitted after the Appeals Council has rendered its final decision. Thus, the Appeals Council properly construed plaintiff's submission as an application to re-open the ALJ's decision, which it denied.
In any event, it would be particularly inappropriate for the Court to impose the duty plaintiff requests under the facts of this case. Here, the Commissioner twice advised plaintiff in 1992 to file a new application for benefits if her condition worsened. Moreover, as plaintiff's counsel conceded at Oral Argument, he did not advise plaintiff that she could or should file a new application nor to the Court's knowledge has one yet been filed on her behalf.
Nor does the Court accept plaintiff's argument, raised for the first time in a supplemental letter brief to the Court, that the Commissioner induced plaintiff through misinformation to not file a new application, and that therefore plaintiff should be able to obtain benefits retroactively by deeming any new application to have been filed as of an earlier date. Quite aside from the merits of her claim of inducement, it is clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to deal with issues relating to a new benefit claim that has not yet even been filed. The Court must await agency resolution of these issues and a motion addressed to that agency's determination. They may not properly be resolved in the context of motions directed to an entirely different benefit claim.
For the reasons set forth above, the Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted, and plaintiff's cross-motion for an order remanding the case to the Commissioner for consideration of additional evidence is denied. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly and close the above-captioned action.
It is SO ORDERED.
DATED: New York, New York
June 13, 1997
John E. Sprizzo
United States District Judge