United States District Court, N.D. California
March 22, 2004.
CARMEN ROBERTS, Plaintiff,
JO ANNE B. BARNHART, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ELIZABETH LAPORTE, Magistrate Judge
IT IS HEREBY ADJUDGED that the agency's final decision is reversed and
remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The
Commissioner of Social Security shall assume jurisdiction to conduct
further administrative proceedings as set forth in the parties'
Stipulation of Remand, filed herein. This constitutes a final judgment
under Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 58.
STIPULATION AND ORDER OF REMAND
IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED by the undersigned for the respective parties,
subject to the approval of the Court, that this action be remanded to the
defendant Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C Section
405(g) for further administrative proceedings.
On remand, the administrative law judge ("ALJ") will consider the
entire record to ascertain whether the claimant had a severe hearing
impairment on or before her date last insured, June 30, 1997. As long as
a severe impairment begins when a claimant has insured status, the entire
twelve consecutive month duration requirement need not be completed while
a claimant has insured status. The report of a 1990 audiogram and the
actual audiogram results in January 1998 and July 2001 may provide a
baseline to measure the expected decline in the claimant's hearing. Those
records raise a strong inference that the claimant had a severe hearing
impairment as of her date last insured which might not have been fully
corrected with hearing aids. Accordingly, the ALJ shall obtain testimony
from a medical expert to provide a medically reasonable assessment
of the claimant's hearing as of her date last insured and: he degree to
which any hearing loss could be corrected with hearing aids. The ALJ
shall also contact the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency to
ascertain if any earlier audiogram records are available, even if those
records pertain to tests before the claimant's alleged onset date of
disability. Once the ALJ has obtained a medically reasonable estimate of
the claimant's hearing loss as of June 30, 1997, the ALJ shall obtain
testimony from a vocational expert concerning the vocational implications
of that hearing loss. The ALJ will undertake any additional development
the ALJ deems appropriate, and issue a new decision.
PURSUANT TO STIPULATION, IT IS SO ORDERED that this action is reversed
and remanded, pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to the
Commissioner for further proceedings.
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