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Chamberlain v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. New York

November 2, 2012

Carmella A. CHAMBERLAIN, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

Page 429

Carmella A. Chamberlain, Fairport, NY, pro se.

Kathryn L. Smith, U.S. Attorney's Office, Rochester, NY, for Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

DAVID G. LARIMER, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Carmella Chamberlain (" Plaintiff" ), proceeding pro se, appeals from a denial by the Commissioner of Social Security (" Commissioner" ) of her request that her Social Security Administration (" SSA" ) earnings record be amended to reflect wages she claims were not credited to her during a six year period. This action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g) to review the final determination of the Commissioner.

The Commissioner now moves for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), on grounds that the ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence and is based upon the application of the correct legal standards. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that the decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence and is not based on legal error. The Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Dkt. # 5) is hereby granted. Plaintiff's complaint (Dkt. # 1) is dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

On March 5, 2007, Plaintiff filed an application with the SSA for retirement insurance benefits, claiming that her earnings record for the years 1980-1986 was incorrect. (Tr. 15-16). Specifically, Plaintiff claimed that although her SSA records reflect no applicable earnings for these years, she had earned income during that period working for an employer who paid her wages and the accompanying FICA withholding taxes on her behalf. (Tr. 24). On October 29, 2007, the SSA denied her request to amend her earnings record. (Tr. 20-23). On November 28, 2007, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an administrative law judge (" ALJ" ). (Tr. 24). This hearing was held on January 26, 2009, before ALJ John P. Costello. (Tr. 209-246). On June 16, 2009, ALJ Costello

Page 430

determined that Plaintiff had failed to establish that she paid FICA taxes for the wages she allegedly earned from 1980 to 1986, and denied her request to amend her earnings record and receive credit for any earnings during that time period. (Tr. 13). Plaintiff then requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 8). On January 31, 2011, after reviewing the evidence submitted by the Plaintiff, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 2-5). This action followed.

DISCUSSION

I. Jurisdiction and Scope of Review


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