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CARNEVALI v. HECKLER
September 6, 1985
ERNEST J. CARNEVALI, Plaintiff,
MARGARET M. HECKLER, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIMMONS
The Plaintiff, Ernest J. Carnevali, filed an application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act on August 3, 1982, alleging that he had been disabled since August 18, 1981, as the result of the amputation of his right forearm and other impairments. Carnevali indicated on his application that in October, 1981, he received a workmen's compensation award, payable in bi-weekly amounts of $524.00, beginning in September, 1981. Title II disability benefits were awarded, but Plaintiff was notified that his benefits would be reduced because of the receipt of the workmen's compensation. Plaintiff requested reconsideration of that decision, on the grounds that the workmen's compensation award was not based on disability but on loss of the forearm, and that the workmen's compensation had been commuted to a lump sum on March 30, 1983. Upon reconsideration it was found that the reduction in the Title II benefits was required. An Administrative Law Judge [ALJ] found in a de novo decision dated March 26, 1984 that the monthly disability insurance benefits were properly reduced due to Carnevali's entitlement to workmen's compensation benefits. The Appeals Council denied the request for review, and the decision of the Secretary thus became final on July 23, 1984. This district court action was filed on September 20, 1984.
The administrative record and the answer have been filed, the Defendant Secretary has filed a motion for summary judgment, the parties have submitted briefs in support of their respective positions, and the matter is now ready for decision by this Court. The issue is whether the Secretary's decision that the Plaintiff Ernest Carnevali received workmen's compensation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 424a is supported by substantial evidence, and whether that decision is in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
Section 224(a) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 424a(a), as amended, August 13, 1981, and applicable to the instant case, provides that benefits are to be reduced on account of receipt of workmen's compensation:
(a) If for any month prior to the month in which an individual attains the age of 65 --
(1) such individual is entitled to benefits under section 223, and
(2) such individual is entitled for such month to periodic benefits on account of such individual's total or partial disability (whether or not permanent) under --
(A) a workmen's compensation law or plan of the United States or a State,
The total of his benefit under section 223 for such month and of any benefits under section 202 for such month based on his wages and self-employment income shall be reduced (but not below zero) by the amount by which the sum of --
(3) such total of benefits under sections 223 and 202 for such month, and
(4) such periodic benefits payable (and actually paid) for such month to such individual under such laws or ...
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