United States District Court, District of Columbia
Susana B. Navarro, Plaintiff,
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
COLLEEN KOLLAR KOTELLY United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on the Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint [ECF No. 9]. For the
reasons discussed below, the motion will be granted.
plaintiff, a resident of the Philippines, see Compl.
at 1, was awarded "monthly widow's insurance
benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act effective
May 2006 . . . based on the Social Security record of her
deceased husband, Eugenio Navarro, " Brief in Support of
Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss Pl's Compl. [ECF No. 9]
("Def.'s Mot."), Nicoll Decl. [ECF No. 9-1]
¶ 3(a). On March 31, 2009, the Social Security
Administration ("SSA") informed plaintiff that it
would deduct Federal income tax from her widow's
insurance benefits. Nicoll Decl. ¶ 3(b). In relevant
part, SSA's notice provided:
deducting a Federal income tax from your benefits each month.
We will stop deducting the tax or deduct it at a lower rate
• You become a U.S. citizen; OR
• You live in the United States, Canada, Egypt, Germany,
Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Romania, Switzerland or the
Please let us know if any of these things happen.
We collect this tax for the Internal Revenue Service. So, if
you disagree with the decision to tax your benefits, you will
have to contact [the IRS] to appeal. However, if you think we
made a mistake about where you live or about your
citizenship, let us know. We will correct the mistake.
Id., Ex. 2 (Letter to plaintiff from SSA, Office of
Central Operations, dated March 31, 2009) at 1. Further, SSA
included instructions for an appeal:
If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to
appeal. We will review your case and consider any new facts
you have . . . . We will correct any mistakes. We will review
those parts of the decision which you believe are wrong and
will at any new facts you have. We may also review those
parts which you believe are correct and may make them
unfavorable or less favorable to you.
Id., Ex. 2 at 1-2.
unsuccessfully appealed the SSA's decision, and the SSA
“continue[d] to deduct a Federal income tax”
because “[t]he new facts [plaintiff provided] did not
cause [the SSA] to stop deducting the tax.”
Id., Ex. 3 (Letter to plaintiff from SSA, Office of
Central Operations, dated September 19, 2013) at 1. The
SSA's response included instructions for filing an appeal
within 60 days of plaintiff's receipt of the September
19, 2013 decision. See id., Ex. 3 at 2.
subsequent correspondence, plaintiff argued that the
deductions were not warranted based on her late husband's
residency in the United States.See Compl. at 1. The SSA
responded that it did “not have any records of Eugenio
Navarro having 5 year United States residency.” Nicoll
Decl., Ex. 4 (Letter to plaintiff from SSA, Office of Central
Operations, dated March 10, 2014). Thus, the SSA
“determined that it would continue to deduct Federal
taxes from the widow's insurance benefits to which . . .
plaintiff is entitled.” Id. ¶ 3(d).
According to the SSA's declarant, the ...