The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.
Plaintiff, seeks judicial review, pursuant to Section 205(g) of the
Social Security Act (the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), of final
determination of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner")
denying his application for disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff
seeks a remand to the Commissioner to consider new evidence and a
re-opening of an unappealed prior determination denying plaintiff SSI
benefits. In the alternative, plaintiff seeks judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Defendant moves for
judgment on the pleadings. The issues before the Court are whether remand
for further proceedings is appropriate or, in the alternative, whether a
motion for judgment on the pleadings should be granted. For the reasons
discussed below, this case is remanded to the Commissioner for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits on
June 6, 1994, claiming a period of disability beginning on May 26, 1994.
The Social Security Administration ("SSA") denied plaintiffs application
on January 17, 1995 and plaintiff failed to ask for reconsideration.
Thereafter, on July 12, 1995, plaintiff reapplied for SSI benefits,
alleging a period of disability beginning on May 2, 1995. This
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") which was
held on March 6, 1996. In a decision dated March 18, 1996, the ALJ
concluded that plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
Plaintiff appealed the decision of the ALJ and on November 19, 1997,
the Appeals Council concluded there was no basis for granting plaintiffs
request for review. Because the Appeals Council declined to review the
ALJ's determination, that determination became the final decision of the
Commissioner. Perez v. Chater, 77 F.3d 41. 44 (2d Cir. 1996).
II. Plaintiff's Impairments
III. The Administrative Record
A. Medical Evidence of Mental impairment
Because there is no treatment for Plaintiff's low I.Q., it is not
surprising that the medical evidence relevant to plaintiff's medical
condition consisted solely of the results of consultative examinations.
Dr. Joseph Andrews administered an intelligence test known as the
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised on November 12, 1994.
Plaintiff's overall performance on this test was 67, which places
plaintiff in the "mentally deficient" range of intelligence. As noted,
this score places plaintiff in the first percentile of national ranking.
Plaintiff was also examined by Dr. Ronald Chase, a psychiatrist, on
August 24, 1995. Dr. Chase found that plaintiffs intellectual functioning
was "borderline" and recommended assistance for the development of better
reading and mathematics skills, but did not diagnose plaintiff as
suffering from any psychiatric illness.
B. Medical Evidence of Physical Impairment
The sole physical impairment for which there was evidence presented to
the ALJ was the report of Dr. Dutta, who examined plaintiff
consultatively with respect to a predominantly healed fracture of the
right hand. Dr. Dutta confirmed that plaintiff suffered from ...