United States District Court, District of Columbia
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER United States District Judge
Butch Allah Blackman, proceeding pro se, filed suit
in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, alleging
that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”)
has repeatedly and unlawfully taken money from his paychecks.
Compl., ECF No. 1-1, at 5. His one-paragraph, handwritten
complaint is otherwise hard to decipher, casting charges of
“forced and false imprisonment” and demanding
damages to the tune of $400 million with no further factual
removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1441, 1442(a)(1), and 1446. Notice of Removal,
ECF No. 1-1, at 3-4. The agency has now filed a motion to
dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the assumption
that Mr. Blackman challenges a reduction of his monthly
benefits. Blackman's opposition to that motion
is, like his complaint, largely incoherent and does not
respond to the agency's argument for dismissal. Pl.'s
Opp'n, ECF No. 6, at 1.
evaluating a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1),
the Court “assume[s] the truth of all material factual
allegations in the complaint and construe[s] the complaint
liberally, granting plaintiff the benefit of all inferences
that can be derived from the facts alleged.” Am.
Nat. Ins. Co. v. FDIC, 642 F.3d 1137, 1139 (D.C. Cir.
2011) (internal citations omitted). However, the Court need
not accept any inferences that are unsupported by facts
alleged in the complaint, nor must it accept a
plaintiff's legal conclusions. See, e.g.,
Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir.
2002). The Court “may consider materials outside the
pleadings in deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss
for lack of jurisdiction.” Jerome Stevens Pharm.,
Inc. v. Food & Drug Admin., 402 F.3d 1249, 1253
(D.C. Cir. 2005).
1996, Blackman applied for and first received disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security
income. Declaration of Michael Sampson
(“Sampson Decl.”), Mot. Dismiss Ex. A ¶
3(a). In 2004, SSA notified Blackman that his supplemental
security income would be eliminated and advised him of his
right to appeal the decision. Id. ¶ 3(a);
id. Ex. 1 (Notice of Planned Action). There is no
indication that Blackman did so. Id. ¶ 3(b). In
2008, SSA declared Blackman ineligible for disability
benefits, id. ¶ 3(c), but the agency
subsequently revised that determination after Blackman
appealed, id. ¶ 3(e); id. Ex. 2
(Request for Reconsideration); id. Ex. 3
(Continuance of Disability).
years later, in August 2015 and February 2016, the Treasury
Department notified Blackman that his payments would be
reduced to satisfy his outstanding debt to the Department of
Education. Id. ¶ 3(f); id. Ex. 4
(Warnings of Benefit Reduction). A letter dated March 3, 2016
advised Blackman that the Treasury Department had applied
$106 from his $856 monthly disability payment to repay that
debt. Id. ¶ 3(g); id. Ex. 5
(Confirmation of Offset). The Department sent Blackman
similar letters until December 2018. Mot. Dismiss at 3;
Sampson Decl. Ex. 7 (Confirmation of Offset).
Mr. Blackman's precise claim is unclear, SSA takes his
allegations as a challenge to that reduction, Mot. Dismiss,
ECF No. 4, at 4, and the Court will construe it as such. As
an initial matter, SSA was not involved in this reduction of
benefits or in the diversion of funds to the Department of
Education. Id. Even if SSA had been the agency
behind the benefits reduction, this Court would lack
jurisdiction over Blackman's claim. The Social Security
Act provides that a party can only seek judicial review of a
“final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
made after a hearing[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
see Ford v. Astrue, 808 F.Supp.2d 150, 153 (D.D.C.
2011) (“[O]nly final decisions made by the Commissioner
can be reviewed in federal court.”). The regulations
implementing that act require a four-step administrative
process before the Commissioner can reach such a final
decision. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1400(a).
Blackman's complaint makes no mention of a final agency
decision; it does not even show an attempt to bring claims to
the agency. See Mot. Dismiss at 3; Notice of Removal
at 5; Pl.'s Opp'n at 1-2. Because there has been no
showing that Blackman has exhausted the prescribed
administrative remedies, this Court lacks subject matter
foregoing reasons, the Court will grant Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss. A separate Order shall accompany this
 In this Circuit, “[t]here is
some uncertainty regarding whether a failure to exhaust
administrative remedies is properly brought in a Rule
12(b)(1) motion, as a jurisdictional defect, or in a Rule
12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim.” Hall
v. Sebelius, 689 F.Supp.2d 10, 21 (D.D.C. 2009).
However, numerous courts within the Circuit have dismissed
cases on jurisdictional grounds for failures to exhaust.
See, e.g., Ford v. Astrue, 808 F.Supp.2d
150, 153 (D.D.C. 2011) (“When it comes to judicial
review of SSA decisions, exhaustion is a jurisdictional
requirement[.]”); Jones v. United States, 813
F.Supp.2d 210, 214 (D.D.C. 2011) (granting motion to dismiss
for failure to exhaust under Rule 12(b)(1)).
 To the extent that Blackman challenges
something else, his complaint falls far short of the minimum
pleading requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a), which demands “(1) a short and plain
statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction
[and] . . . (2) a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Blackman's complaint, while short,
fails to explain the factual or legal basis for his
 Blackman's complaint is devoid of
any specific factual allegations. The Court thus draws these
facts-none of which Blackman has rebutted in his
opposition-from the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and the
documents accompanying it. SSA has provided a declaration
from its Chief of Court Preparation and Review, who is
“responsible for the processing of claims under Title
II of the Social Security Act . . . whenever a civil action
has been filed in the District of Columbia.” Sampson
Decl. ¶ 3. The declaration ...