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.

RANDAZZO v. BARNHART

August 26, 2004.

FELICITA RANDAZZO, Plaintiff,
v.
JO ANNE B. BARNHART, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR SPATT, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

Felicita Randazzo ("Randazzo" or the "plaintiff") proceeding pro se commenced this action pursuant to the Social Security Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), challenging the final determination of Jo Anne B. Barnhart, the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her widow's insurance benefits. Presently before the Court is a motion by the Commissioner for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Fed.R. Civ. P.") 12(c).

  I. BACKGROUND

  A. Procedural History

  On August 7, 1991, Randazzo filed an application for widow's insurance benefits with the Department of Health and Human Services This application was denied on September 7, 1991 on the basis that the plaintiff was not married to Stephen Randazzo ("Wage Earner") for at least nine months before the date of his death as required by the Act. On November 28, 2000, the plaintiff requested that the decision denying her benefits be reopened. After her application was denied, the plaintiff requested an administrative hearing. On September 30, 2002, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Emanuel Poverstein (the "ALJ"). At the hearing, the plaintiff was represented by an attorney.

  In a decision dated October 16, 2002, the ALJ found that Randazzo was married to the Wage Earner for less than the nine months required by the Act to receive widow's benefits and that she failed to sustain her burden of proving that was entitled to a waiver of the nine-month requirement. Subsequently, Randazzo filed a request for review with the Appeals Council. On February 5, 2003, the Appeals Council denied the plaintiff's request for a review, making the ALJ's decision the final administrative determination. This appeal followed.

  1. Randazzo's letter to the ALJ

  Prior to the hearing, by letter dated September 12, 2002, Michael Sullivan, Esq., counsel for Randazzo, submitted a letter to the ALJ to which an unsigned statement by Randazzo was affixed. In this statement, the plaintiff explained that she and the Wage Earner were planning to be married in June 1972. Just before this date, Dr. Leonard Birch, since deceased, diagnosed Mr. Randazzo with cancer and stated that the cancer "would probably cause his death in about one year." Despite this prognosis, the plaintiff and the Wage Earner were married in July 1972. On September 20, 1972, Mr. Randazzo fell down a flight of stairs and fractured his left femur. On September 26, 1972, after six days of hospitalization, Mr. Randazzo passed away. The plaintiff stated in her letter that "because of the cancer, he was not able to overcome the injuries sustained in his fall."

  2. Randazzo's Testimony at the Hearing

  The plaintiff testified that she was born on February 6, 1929 and completed two years of college in Europe. On July 27, 1972, the plaintiff married Stephen Randazzo. On September 24, 1972, Mr. Randazzo passed away. The plaintiff currently receives $116 per month from Social Security based on her own work history. The plaintiff does not receive any Public Assistance nor does she have any other sources of monthly income.

  The plaintiff was supposed to marry Mr. Randazzo at the end of June. Towards the end of June 1972, Mr. Randazzo was diagnosed with lung cancer. Prior to their wedding date, Mr. Randazzo was admitted to the hospital for tests and was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thereafter, on July 27, 1972, the plaintiff married Mr. Randazzo. At some point prior to September 18, 1972, Mr. Randazzo told the plaintiff that he could live eight months to one year. On September 18, 1972, Mr. Randazzo fell down a flight of stairs and was hospitalized for six days. Ms. Randazzo testified that on September 24, 1972, Mr. Randazzo passed away while in the hospital. Ms. Randazzo stated that the fall "aggravated this sickness."

  3. Other Documentation in the Record

  a. Application for Widow's or Widower's Insurance Benefits

  On August 6, 1991, the plaintiff completed an "Application for Widow's Insurance Benefits." In this application, the plaintiff indicated that the Wage Earner was born on April 24, 1923 and died on September 26, 1972. Also, it stated that the Wage Earner's previous marriage ended in divorce on January 15, 1972. The plaintiff further indicated that she and Mr. Randazzo were living together at the time of his death.

  b. Application for Survivor's Benefits.

  In an application for Survivor's Benefits, the plaintiff indicated that Mr. Randazzo was a Corporal in the military from February 22, 1943 to February 12, 1946. The plaintiff also stated that ...


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.