20 CFR 404.918, 404.954(a)
R, a doctor of medicine, filed an application for old-age insurance benefits on June 24, 1960. His application was denied for lack of an insured status. Notice of this determination was mailed to R on January 18, 1961. On June 14, 1961, R requested reconsideration of this determination, but he was informed in a letter dated May 17, 1962, that upon reconsideration the denial of his application was affirmed. At the same time he was notified that if he wanted a hearing before a hearing examiner of the Social Security Administration, he must file a request for a hearing not later than 6 months from the date of the letter.
R did not file a request for a hearing until March 21, 1963, more than 10 months after the mailing date of the notice of reconsidered determination. With his request for a hearing, R submitted a statement in which he advanced his reasons for failure to file a request for a hearing within the 6-month time limitation: He stated that he injured a vertebra on June 10, 1962; that he postponed treatment of the injury because on the following June 18 he was to be speaker and honored guest of a national fraternity and recipient of its award. On June 21, 1962, R entered the hospital and was not discharged until July 18, 1962. Thereafter he was confined to his home, practically bedridden, until about December 18, 1962, when he was permitted to be up around the house with a back brace. He was again hospitalized from January 28 to February 4, 1963, this time for a cataract operation; following this operation, he was unable to read until March 14, 1963, when he received glasses. R concluded, "These disabilities, interruptions, and distractions were the reason for the delay in filing my request for a hearing * * *."
Section 205(b) of the Social Security Act provides in pertinent part that a request for a hearing "* * * must be filed within such period after [a reconsidered determination] as may be prescribed in regulations of the Secretary, except that the period so prescribed may not be less than 6 months after notice of such [reconsidered determination] is mailed to the individual making such request."
Section 404.918 of Social Security Administration Regulations No. 4 (20 CFR 404.918) states in pertinent part that the request for a hearing must be filed within 6 months after the date of mailing notice of the reconsidered determination except where the time is extended as provided in sections 404.612 and 404.954. Section 404.954(a) of Regulations No. 4 (20 CFR 404.954(a) provides, as pertinent here, that:
The question presented in this case is whether R has shown "good cause" for extending the time period in which he might request a hearing.
The record in this case shows that R is a doctor of medicine, well educated, and able to read and interpret notices. Therefore, it must be presumed that he understood his obligations as explained in the notice of the reconsidered determination mailed to him on May 17, 1962. There was nothing to prevent R from filing a request for a hearing during the period of more than 30 days from the date he received the notice to the date he entered the hospital on June 18, 1962. While R has suffered serious impairments, the existence of a physical impairment is not in itself "good cause" for extension of the time period. Even during his hospitalization and while bedridden at home, R undoubtedly had access to a telephone or to persons who could act as his agents in carrying out his obligations, such as paying bills, answering correspondence, etc. It is not unreasonable to expect as much from him in his dealings with the Social Security Administration.
Accordingly, it is held that R has not shown "good cause" for extending the time for filing a request for a hearing, and therefore his request for a hearing filed on March 21, 1963, is dismissed.
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