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Veach v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 27, 2018

JASON VEACH, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER, Social Security Administration, [1] Defendant.

          JOHN E. HAAPALA, JR. Attorney for Plaintiff

          BILLY J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney

          RENATA GOWIE Assistant United States Attorney

          MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief Counsel

          LISA GOLDOFTAS Special Assistant United States Attorney Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Jason Veach seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which the Commissioner denied Plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act.[2] This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         For the reasons that follow, the Court REVERSES the decision of the Commissioner and REMANDS this matter for further proceedings.

         ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

         Plaintiff protectively filed his initial application for DIB benefits on December 14, 2012. Tr. 31, 187.[3] Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date of February 2, 2012. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on February 6, 2015. Tr. 51-77. Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at the hearing.

         On May 22, 2015, the ALJ issued an opinion in which he found Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 31-45.

         On June 24, 2015, Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council. Tr. 24.

         On September 16, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request to review the ALJ's decision, and the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. Tr. 11-14. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).

         On November 3, 2016, Plaintiff requested an extension of time to file a civil action.

         On March 2, 2017, the Appeals Council extended the time to file a civil action for 30 days. Tr. 1-2.

         On March 31, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court seeking review of the Commissioner's decision.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born on January 24, 1979. Tr. 43. Plaintiff was 36 years old at the time of the hearing. Plaintiff has a high-school education and two years of college. Tr. 72. The ALJ found Plaintiff has past relevant work as a computer sales representative. Tr. 43.

         Plaintiff alleges disability due to a right-knee injury, ruptures in his neck, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with disc herniation, ...


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