United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROBINSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
seeks review of a final decision by the Commissioner of
Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his
application for disability insurance benefits under the
Social Security Act. An administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) denied Plaintiff's claims, finding
that Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council granted
Plaintiff's request for review and issued its own
decision on October 2, 2017, correcting a discrete error but
agreeing with the ALJ that Plaintiff was not
disabled. This Appeals Council decision became the
Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial
review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
subsequently filed his Complaint for Review of a Social
Security Disability Decision in this Court on December 10,
2018. After the parties filed their respective
briefing in this matter,  Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel the
Defendant to File a Complete Record, asking the Court to
order the Commissioner to supplement the record with an
Appeals Council notice dated September 27,
2018. After reviewing the record, the
Commissioner agreed with Plaintiff that the Appeals Council
erred by filing its October 2, 2017 prematurely, and filed a
Motion to Remand and Reverse and for Entry of Final Judgment
(Doc. 25). Plaintiff opposes the motion and asks the Court to
retain jurisdiction and order the Commissioner to pay
benefits. For the reasons below, the Court
grants the Commissioner's motion.
Motion to Compel, Plaintiff asked the Court to compel the
Commissioner to supplement the administrative record with a
letter from the Appeals Council. The letter informed
Plaintiff that his request for an appearance was denied, but
then stated, “We Will Not Act for 30 Days” and
informed Plaintiff that he must send any additional
information regarding his claim “within 30 days of the
date of this letter.” This letter was dated
September 27, 2018, but the Appeals Council final decision
was issued just five days later on October 2, 2018. Thus,
Plaintiff was not given thirty days to submit additional
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court may reverse the
Commissioner's decision without remanding, but should
only do so in limited circumstances. “Remand for
further administrative proceedings is appropriate if
enhancement of the record would be
useful.” “Some of the relevant factors we
consider are the length of time the matter has been pending
and whether or not given the available evidence, remand for
additional fact-finding would serve any useful purpose [or]
would merely delay the receipt of
error asserted here is procedural. Plaintiff alleges that the
record is incomplete because (1) the Appeals Council letter
was not in the record before this Court and (2) he was not
given thirty days to submit additional information to the
Appeals Council prior to its decision denying him benefits.
Implicit in Plaintiff's assertion is that he may possess
additional information to submit to the Appeals Council.
Thus, the Commissioner should have the opportunity to correct
the error by allowing Plaintiff to fully present his case on
remand. Thereafter, the Commissioner may consider whether
Plaintiff's additional information warrants a different
finding regarding disability. Enhancement of the record would
serve a useful purpose here and not merely delay the receipt
of benefits, and accordingly, remand is appropriate.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT that the
Commissioner's Motion to Remand and Reverse and for Entry
of Final Judgment pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) (Doc. 25) is granted.
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Doc. 21) is
IS SO ORDERED.
 The court makes all its
“Memorandum and Order[s]” available online.
Therefore, in the interest of protecting the privacy
interests of Social Security disability claimants, it has
determined to caption such opinions using only the initial of
the Plaintiff's last name.
 On June 17, 2019, Andrew M. Saul was
sworn in as Commissioner of Social Security. In accordance
with Rule 25(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
Mr. Saul is substituted for Acting Commissioner Nancy A.
Berryhill as the defendant. In accordance with the last