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MILES v. APFEL

June 16, 1999

DAVID B. MILES, JR., PLAINTIFF
v.
KENNETH S. APFEL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

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.

BACKGROUND

I. Procedural History

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 ...


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