Boley v. Colvin, No. 13-1252 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Boley sought Social Security disability benefits. The agency denied her request initially and on reconsideration. A person dissatisfied with such a decision has 60 days to request a hearing. Boley took about nine months because SSA had notified Boley but not her lawyer (as required by 20 C.F.R.404.1715(a)). Boley was ill at the time, preparing for a double mastectomy, and did not know, until it was too late, that her lawyer was unaware of the decision. An ALJ dismissed an untimely hearing request, finding that Boley lacked “good cause” because she had received notice and could have filed a request herself. A district judge dismissed her petition for judicial review, based on 42 U.S.C. 05(g), which authorizes review of the agency’s final decisions made “after a hearing.” The Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded, with instructions to decide whether substantial evidence, and appropriate procedures, underlie the decision that Boley lacks “good cause” for her delay in seeking intra-agency review. In doing so, the court overruled its own precedent and noted a divide among the circuits.