United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND OPINION
Margaret B. Seymour Senior United States District Judge
Alphonso Tucker, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
filed a complaint on July 16, 2015, seeking judicial review
of a final decision of Defendant Acting Commissioner of
Social Security denying Plaintiff’s claims for
disability insurance benefits and retroactive supplemental
security income benefits. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was referred
to United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett for
appears that Plaintiff filed an application for disability
insurance benefits that had been denied initially, upon
reconsideration, and after a hearing by an administrative law
judge (ALJ) in a decision dated August 22, 2012. The
ALJ’s ruling became the final decision of the
Commissioner on December 17, 2013, when the Appeals Counsel
denied Plaintiff’s request for review.
filed a second application for disability insurance benefits
and for supplemental security income on January 6, 2014. On
July 7, 2015, an ALJ determined that Plaintiff’s
request for disability insurance benefits had been previously
adjudicated in the August 22, 2012, decision, and thus was
barred under the doctrine of res judicata. The ALJ therefore
dismissed Plaintiff’s January 6, 2014, application for
disability insurance benefits. It appears that
Plaintiff’s application for supplemental security
income was approved effective January 6, 2014; however,
Plaintiff also requested fifty-three years of back benefits.
The ALJ found that there is no retroactivity of payment, and
administratively dismissed Plaintiff’s claim for
retroactive supplemental security income benefits. On July
28, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s
request for review of the ALJ’s dismissal.
motion to dismiss, the Commissioner asserts that the
ALJ’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s second request for
disability insurance benefits does not constitute a
“final decision . . .made after a hearing” as
required for jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Therefore, the Commissioner contends Plaintiff’s
complaint should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. By
order filed August 3, 2015, pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975),
Plaintiff was advised of the dismissal procedures and the
possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately.
Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on June 6,
August 12, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation in which she discussed in detail the law
applicable to subject matter jurisdiction and res judicata in
Social Security benefits cases, as specifically enunciated in
McGowen v. Harris, 666 F.2d 60 (4th Cir.
1981). The Magistrate Judge observed that, under
McGowen, the court has jurisdiction only to
determine whether the Commissioner properly applied res
judicata to Plaintiff’s claims. The Magistrate Judge
thereafter found that the Commissioner correctly applied res
judicata as a bar to Plaintiff’s disability insurance
Magistrate Judge also observed that, to the extent Plaintiff
challenged the ALJ’s statement there is no retroactive
payment of supplemental security income, 20 C.F.R. §
416.335 provides that the Commissioner cannot award
retroactive supplemental social security income payments.
Finally, citing Payne v. Colvin, No. 1:12-CV1127,
2015 WL 570903, at *5 (M.D.N.C. Feb. 11, 2015), the
Magistrate Judge found that the court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction to consider any arguments challenging the
ALJ’s decision not to award retroactive supplemental
social security income benefits. Accordingly, the Magistrate
Judge recommended that the Commissioner’s motion to
dismiss be granted and Plaintiff’s complaint be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff
filed responses to the Report and Recommendation on August
24, 2016; September 26, 2016; September 28, 2016; and
November 4, 2016.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270
(1976). This court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or
in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This court may
also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the
Magistrate Judge with instructions. Id. The district
court is obligated to conduct a de novo review of every
portion of the Magistrate Judge’s report to which
objections have been filed. Id. However, the
district court need not conduct a de novo review when a party
makes only general and conclusory objections that do not
direct the court to a specific error in the Magistrate
Judge’s proposed findings and recommendations.
Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47-48 (4th Cir.
case, Plaintiff’s responses do not direct the court to
a specific error in the Report and Recommendation. Rather,
Plaintiff contends that a number of governmental officials
and employees have lied and should be in prison.
Nevertheless, the court has thoroughly reviewed the record
and applicable law. The court adopts the Report and
Recommendation and incorporates it herein by reference. For
the reasons stated therein and in this order, the
Commissioner’s motion to dismiss (ECF No. 38) is
granted. Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
is hereby notified of the right to appeal this order pursuant
to Rules 3 and 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.