United States District Court, D. Arizona
K. Duncan United States Magistrate Judge.
Reveles, in his capacity as substitute party, appeals from
the Commissioner's denial of Lucile Reveles' claim
for Title II disability benefits. (Doc. 1) This Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and, with
the parties' consent to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Doc. 16) Because the
Court concludes that the ALJ's decision contains harmful
errors, and that further proceedings are not useful or
necessary, the Court remands for benefits.
and Procedural History
Reveles first applied for disability benefits in September
2009, alleging an onset date of September 2006. (Tr. 113) At
the time of her hearing in April 2011, the administrative
record contained her treatment records through February 2010.
(Tr. 43, 118) In June 2011, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Reveles benefits (“First Decision”). As relevant
here, the First Decision concluded that Reveles'
fibromyalgia, tendonitis of the knees, insulin dependent
diabetes, asthma, and obesity were severe but that she was
capable of performing less than the full range of light work.
(Tr. 115-16) The First Decision found that Reveles had been
treated for “possible sarcoidosis” and
categorized it as nonsevere. (Tr. 116)
2012, Reveles again filed Title II and Title XVI applications
with an alleged onset date of October 1, 2011 (“Second
Application”). (Tr. 21, 102, 395-408, 421) To obtain
benefits from her Second Application, Reveles had to rebut a
presumption of continuing non-disability and to establish
“changed circumstances” pursuant to Chavez v.
Bowen, 844 F.2d 691 (9th Cir. 1988), and the
Commissioner's Acquiescence Ruling 97-4(9). Moreover,
because Reveles' Title II benefits ended on December 31,
2011, her Title II benefits depended on her showing that she
was disabled between October 1 and December 31, 2011
(“Relevant Period”). (Tr. 23, 102, 421)
Reveles died on May 26, 2015. Her Certificate of Death listed
her immediate cause of death as encephalopathy and listed
secondary causes as respiratory failure, sepsis, and
diabetes. (Tr. 416) As relevant here, her death extinguished
her Title XVI claim and left only her Title II claim to be
pursued by her son's father, Stevan Reveles.
Records from the Relevant Period.
the Relevant Period, Reveles was hospitalized twice. First,
Reveles was admitted at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center on
September 29, 2011. In other words, she was hospitalized at
the start of the Relevant Period. (Tr. 10222-247, 10592-670)
When she was discharged on October 2, 2011, her primary
diagnoses were listed as “(1) abdominal pain; (2)
history of sarcoidosis, diabetes mellitus, chronic pain; (3)
narcotic dependency. (Tr. 10225)
again admitted at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center on
October 28, 2011. (Tr. 10450-474) She was discharged on
November 2, 2011, and her primary diagnoses were “(1)
shortness of breath, multifactorial, likely secondary to a
combination of pulmonary hypertension and sarcoid [and] (2)
chest pain, atypical” and her secondary diagnoses were
“(1) sarcoid, history of; (2) diabetes mellitus, poorly
controlled, exacerbated by steroids; (3) anemia; (4)
recurrent fevers of unclear etiology; (5) chronic back pain;
(6) asthma; (7) migraine headaches.” (Tr. 10452).
was an established patient of Shashi J. Goel, M.D., before
the Relevant Period. Between and after her Relevant Period
hospitalizations, Reveles had six appointments for on-going
pain and follow-up with Dr. Goel. (Tr. 2309-15) In February
2015, Dr. Goel wrote a letter that stated, “Lucile was
under my care for many years. She had multiple medical
problems. She was totally disabled and unable to work during
2010 and 2011.” (Tr. 10474) In January 2016, Dr. Goel
wrote a letter that stated:
Lucile Reveles was my patient for several years. She has
[sic] multiple medical diagnoses including sarcoidosis,
diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathy, renal
insufficiency and chronic pain. During the time I treated
her, she was in a lot of pain. She required numerous
hospitalizations due to her medical conditions.
Due to her many medical problems and constant
hospitalizations, I believe that she was totally disabled and
not able to work the entire time she was under my care.
received regular treatment with Valley Arthritis Care. (Tr.
1113-65) During the Relevant Period, Reveles had one
appointment where she was assessed with hypertension;
respiratory disorder sarcoidosis; diabetes mellitus;
longstanding inflammatory arthropathy, suspected sarcoid
arthropathy; and osteoarthritis. (Tr. 1129-30)
the Relevant Period, Reveles saw her pain management provider
monthly and all three medical records indicate a ...