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Hobson v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

April 6, 2015

EVA P. HOBSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

VERONICA L. DUFFY, Magistrate Judge.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Eva P. Hobson ("Hobson"), filed this pro se action in 2012 seeking a review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits. See Docket 1. Her Complaint was a very non-specific, one-page document. Id . Ms. Hobson has a long and complicated claims history with the Social Security Administration. At the time Hobson filed this pending action in federal court, however, the most recent unfavorable decision[1] she had received from the Social Security Administration was a November, 2009 written decision from Administrative Law Judge Lyle Olson which pertained to the amount of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits which were due her for the time period spanning from June, 2007 through August, 2008. See AR 8-15.

Following her one-page Complaint, Hobson filed documents with the court indicating the issues she wished to appeal were much broader than those encompassed by the ALJ's November 16, 2009 decision. The administrative record before the court did not include the information necessary to address the additional issues raised by Hobson.

Thereafter, Judge Schreier issued an Order dated March 20, 2014, staying this case (Docket 24) and ordering the Social Security Administration to produce the appropriate administrative records. Judge Schreier further ordered the parties to submit documentation and legal authorities regarding Hobson's claim for further benefits, and whether those claims were ripe for judicial review.

In response to Judge Schreier's Order dated March 20, 2014, Hobson filed a document (Docket 26) clarifying her intent in filing a Complaint with this court: Hobson indicated she received a "fully favorable" decision as a result of a hearing which was held on May 17, 2012. Docket 26-2. The decision granted her SSI benefits beginning on October 11, 2005. Id . She believes, however, that although the decision was deemed "fully favorable" it did not go far enough because (1) she should have received benefits beginning January 1, 2002; or alternatively (2) she believes she should have received benefits continually beginning in 1996. Docket 26, p.1. Finally, Hobson also explained that she believes she has only received "part" of the benefits she has been awarded. Id.

The defendant also filed documents in response to Judge Schreier's March 20, 2014 Order. See Declaration of Roxie Nicoll (Docket 28) and Memorandum (Docket 27). The defendant also filed a supplemental administrative record, consisting of the transcript of the May 17, 2012 hearing (AR 160-93). It now appears the court has before it all the necessary information to both (1) understand the relief requested by Hobson and (2) recommend a ruling on Hobson's request.

JURISDICTION

This appeal of the Commissioner's final decision denying benefits is properly before the District Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Judge Schreier referred this matter to the Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and her Standing Order dated October 16, 2014.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION PROCEEDINGS

To better understand Hobson's position and her request to this court, her claims history with the Social Security Administration is helpful. That history is outlined in Roxie Nicoll's Declaration (Docket 28). Nicoll is the Chief of Court Case Preparation and Review for Branch IV of the Social Security Administration Office of Appellate Operations. See Docket 28.

Hobson's requests for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits began with her April, 1992 application. See Nicoll Declaration, Docket 28 at ¶2(b). Hobson was found disabled and was awarded SSI benefits beginning in April, 1992. Id . The agency conducted a review, however, and later determined Hobson had medically improved and was no longer entitled to benefits. Id . In an initial determination, it terminated her SSI benefits effective November, 1996. Hobson requested reconsideration, but reconsideration was denied in December, 1996. Id . There is no evidence Hobson appealed the decision on reconsideration. Id . Her SSI payments ceased in January, 1997. Id.

In October, 2005, Hobson filed her second application for SSI benefits. Nicoll Declaration, Docket 28 at ¶2(d). The application was denied. Id . Hobson did not appeal. Id.

In June, 2006, Hobson filed her third application for SSI benefits. Id. at ¶2(e). The claim was initially denied. Hobson appealed and requested a hearing before an administrative law ...


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