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ROBERTS v. BARNHART

United States District Court, N.D. California


March 22, 2004.

CARMEN ROBERTS, Plaintiff,
v.
JO ANNE B. BARNHART, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: ELIZABETH LAPORTE, Magistrate Judge

JUDGEMENT

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. Page 1

  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 Page 2 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.

20040322

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