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Staar v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Idaho

February 25, 2017

JENNIFER L. STAAR, Petitioner,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE:

          Ronald E. Bush, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge

         Pending before this Court is Petitioner Jennifer L. Staar's Complaint/Petition for Review (Docket No. 2) and related Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 21). Having carefully considered the record and otherwise being fully advised, the undersigned enters the following Memorandum Decision and Order:

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         In 2001, Petitioner was awarded Supplemental Security Income disability benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. At that time (and until July 2007), Petitioner lived in Oracle, Arizona (the “Arizona Residence”), caring for her elderly mother. While living there, the Arizona Residence was excluded as a resource under the Social Security Act because it represented Petitioner's primary residence.

         However, on July 13, 2007, Plaintiff moved to Idaho to live with her brother, describing the circumstances surrounding the move in the following exchange with Administrative Law Judge James W. Sherry during (“ALJ”) during the April 22, 2010 hearing:

ALJ: And at the time before you moved, your mother was living with you and you were taking care of her?
A: She was in hospice in my home.
ALJ: Right.
A: They were giving my mom approximately three months to live.
ALJ: And I understand that you needed help with your mother, and that's what caused you to move to Idaho with your brother?
A: Yes. And my mom is in an infant state. She needs feeding, bathing, changing, you need to position her, she needs to be lifted from the bed to her wheelchair. And my dad had been assisting me with this. My dad is now 85 years old. But he had developed a severe hernia, and he could not help - ALJ: Couldn't do the heavy - A: Right.
ALJ: Stuff.
A: And he needed surgery. And there was just no option - no option. It - I could no longer take care of my mom by myself. My dad was going to also need help. So all the family got together and they decided that was the only option open.

(AR 393-94). Relevant here, Petitioner intended to sell the Arizona Residence and use the proceeds from the sale to purchase a new home in Idaho to be closer to her family. Petitioner claims to have attempted to sell the Arizona Residence (both on her own and via a realtor), but, to date, has been unsuccessful - all ...


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