United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c),
Fed.R.Civ.P. 73 and Local Magistrate Judge Rule MJR 13
(see also Notice of Initial Assignment to a U.S.
Magistrate Judge and Consent Form, Dkt. 5; Consent to Proceed
Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 7). This matter
has been fully briefed. See Dkt. 11, 12, 13.
was awarded Supplement Security Income (“SSI”)
benefits after a finding that he was disabled as of September
28, 2012. AR. 13, 29. That finding was not disturbed by the
ALJ in this matter. AR. 13. The only question presented in
this matter is whether he also is eligible for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II, for
which he needs to establish that he became disabled while he
was insured for those benefits. Id. The ALJ found
that plaintiff “last met the insured status requirement
of the Social Security Act on September 30, 2002.” AR.
argues herein that such date is incorrect because the ALJ
failed to develop the record on plaintiff's other
earnings not present in the Commissioner's earnings
records. However, the Commissioner's earnings records are
conclusive regarding earned coverage of disability insurance,
absent timely filed tax returns, and plaintiff only corrected
four years of returns, with only two of them being timely
filed, at most. Even adding in the most possible, eight
additional quarters for those two years of timely updated tax
returns, plaintiff still has not established an earlier date
last insured for disability insurance.
after considering and reviewing the record, the Court
concludes that the ALJ properly derived plaintiff's date
last insured and did not err by failing to develop the
record. The ALJ therefore also properly found that plaintiff
has not established disability prior to his date last
insured. Hence, this matter is affirmed pursuant to sentence
four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
CALVIN AXTMAN, was born in 1959 and was 43 years old on the
alleged date of disability onset of September 1, 2002.
See AR. 153-59. Plaintiff graduated from high school
and completed a four-year apprenticeship for carpentry. AR.
33-34 He worked as a union carpenter and then opened his own
business. AR. 34. The testimony from the hearing suggests
that plaintiff worked as a carpenter contractor from 2003
until 2007, when his back started to give him problems with
his work. See AR. 34.
to the ALJ, “through the date last insured, there were
no medical signs or laboratory findings to substantiate the
existence of a medically determinable impairment (20 CFR
404.1520(c))” for the plaintiff. AR. 16.
time of the hearing, plaintiff was living in a single-wide
trailer. AR. 38.
application for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1382(a) (Title XVI) of the Social Security Act was granted,
with a disability onset date of September 28, 2012. AR. 13.
Plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title
II) of the Social Security Act was denied initially and
following reconsideration. See AR. 55, 60.
Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge Gordon W. Griggs (“the
ALJ”) on September 30, 2014. See AR. 24-54. On
October 27, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision in which
the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to
the Social Security Act prior to his date last insured for
DIB. See AR. 10-23.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issue: Whether or not the Commissioner erred in failing to
develop the record regarding plaintiff's date last
insured. See Dkt. 11, p. 1.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the
Commissioner's denial of social security benefits if the
ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported
by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss
v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 ...