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Jones v. Colvin

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

December 2, 2013

BILLY ANTHONY JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE AND NOTICE AND ORDER

JEFFREY L. CURETON, Magistrate Judge.

This case was referred to the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b). The Findings, Conclusions and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge are as follows:

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Plaintiff Billy Anthony Jones ("Jones") filed this action pursuant to Sections 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of Title 42 of the United States Code for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. Jones disagrees with the Commissioner's determination that he is ineligible for supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits because he has excess resources, notwithstanding that Jones had established he was disabled under the Social Security Act ("SSA").

On April 6, 2009, Jones protectively filed an application for SSI under Title XVI of the SSA.[1] (Tr. 12, 91-100.) In the application, Jones indicated that his primary residence was at a house located at 2913 N.W. 24th Street in Fort Worth, Texas. (Tr. 92.) He further stated that he and his wife, Sandra Jean Camp, also owned a 2 bedroom, 1 bath wood framed house that was rented and had a tax-assessed value of $32, 500.00 (hereinafter referred to as "the secondary residence").[2] (Tr. 93.) As to the secondary residence, Jones further stated:

My daughter purchased a home and my wife is the co-signor on the loan. She pays the mortgage. The mortgage payment is $411.00 a month. I don't know how it shows that my wife and myself are the owners. My daughter said she deeded me the property but she is still paying on it. This property was taken out of my name on 4/22/09.

(Tr. 94.) Jones further indicated in the application that his wife owned the following vehicles: (1) a 94 Chrysler Labaron valued at $1, 200; (2) an 83 Suburu GL valued at $800; and (3) a 77 Chevy Silverado valued at $1000. (Tr. 95.) In a "Review Statement Summary for Supplemental Security Income" dated September 21, 2009, Jones indicated that the value of the 94 Chrysler Labaron had decreased from $1, 200 to $300 in October 2009 and that it no longer ran. (Tr. 80.) Thereafter on October 6, 2009, Jones submitted "Amendments to Application Summary for Supplemental Security Form ("Amendments")". (Tr. 71-73.) In the Amendments, Jones stated:

On September 9, 2009, I unknown [sic] 2911 N.W. 24th St Ft Worth TX with JESSICA BARNES WESTERMAN [("Westerman")][3] who is related to me. It was worth $32, 500.00. I do not expect additional cash property or services. I do not still own part of the property.

(Tr. 72 (footnote added).)

On October 13, 2009, the SSA denied Jones' application for SSI because his and his spouse's resources were worth more than $3, 000. (Tr. 59-70.) In calculating, Jones' resources, the SSA noted that Jones had (1) $32, 500 in real estate or business property (that was converted to cash beginning in May 2009), (2) a 1994 Chrysler worth $300, and (3) a 1983 Subaru worth $800 and found that such resources amounted to $30, 600 over the resource limit of $3, 000.[4] (Tr. 68-70.) The SSA indicated that it did not include the value "of a home, one vehicle, and a burial fund of up to $1, 500.00" in the calculation of Jones' resources. (Tr. 68-70.)

On December 11, 2009, the SSA denied Jones' request for reconsideration, stating:

You requested a reconsideration stating that you did not agree with the prior decision because your resources were counted incorrectly.
We determined that the prior decision was correct. You are not eligible for SSI because your countable resources are worth more than the $3000.00 resource limit. On the first day of April and continuing, you and your spouse owned ...

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