Brewers v. Commissioner SSA

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 06-14-2012
  • Case #: 11-35216
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Fisher for the Court; Circuit Judges Fletcher and Bybee
  • Full Text Opinion

Materials reviewed by the appeals council for the first time are accepted into the administrative record even if the appeals council denied a review of the administrative law judges' opinion.

Brewers applied for social security disability benefits based on her inability to work due to multiple anxiety disorders. The administrative law judge (ALJ) denied the application and the appeals council denied a request to review the decision. In seeking review, Brewers submitted evidence that was not before the ALJ. The Commissioner argued that the evidence submitted to the appeals council is not part of the administrative record and was properly denied review by the district court. The Court concluded the Commissioner's regulations permit new evidence to be submitted and reviewed by the appeals council in its decision to accept the case or deny review of the ALJ's decision. The Court stated that the Commissioner could not have issued a final decision until the appeals council had denied review or issued a ruling on the merits of the case, thus the evidence submitted to the appeals council was part of the whole administrative record. The Court found that because of the new evidence the Commissioner's denial of benefits was not supported by substantial evidence and the case was REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR PAYMENT OF BENEFITS.

Advanced Search