sedentary employment, examples of which have been cited by the vocational expert" and that claimant was not under a disability at any time down to the date of his decision. The hearing examiner did not find that plaintiff's impairments would permit him to return to his former employment in the mines.
We have reviewed the record and conclude that there is not substantial evidence to support the Secretary's decision that the plaintiff was not under a disability within the meaning of § 223(d), as amended, at any time prior to the issuance of the Secretary's decision.
For the period since September 28, 1965, the medical evidence consists of the reports and examinations of five physicians. Only Dr. McQuillan, who examined plaintiff May 8, 1967, concluded that plaintiff "is permanently and totally disabled (unable to do light work of a general nature) due primarily to moderate essential hypertension combined with stage II anthracosilicosis." Dr. McQuillan was of the opinion that each of plaintiff's impairments, "taken alone, would most probably be associated with the ability to perform light work of a general nature", but that "in view of the multiple diagnoses and the accumulative effect", he felt that plaintiff was disabled. The hearing examiner rejected Dr. McQuillan's conclusion of disability on the basis that the conclusion was not supported by the doctor's objective findings. Dr. Fees expressed no opinion as to plaintiff's ability to work. Dr. Bradley believed that he "could do sustained work for an eight hour period"; Dr. Trigiano that he could do light work of a general nature though he would not be able to do any heavy lifting; and Dr. Wright that he seemed "capable of moderate physical activity". Only Dr. McQuillan evaluated the cumulative effect of plaintiff's silicosis, hypertension and congenital defects of the spine, which are the principally mentioned complaints. Dr. Bradley did not review the arthritis. Dr. Wright indicated the possibility of "an exacerbation of arthritis". Dr. Trigiano did not evaluate the silicosis. Drs. Wright and Bradley concurred, however, that there was no evidence of cardiac or pulmonary disability; and Dr. Trigiano concluded that plaintiff's degenerative disease of the lumbar spine would not preclude him from doing most types of light work.
Though different conclusions might be reached, we cannot say, viewing all the medical reports together, that there is not substantial evidence to support the examiner's findings on the extent and severity of plaintiff's physical impairments.
The record includes the report of a psychologist, John J. Pastovic, who made findings and conclusions based on the results of certain psychological tests. In his report, Pastovic comments that plaintiff "is functioning at the Borderline to Dull Normal level of intelligence with an IQ of 79 which indicates that 92 percent of the general population of his age do better on this test." He notes that a "mental age equivalent of 11 years, 10 months can be derived from his IQ" and states that plaintiff "is reading and computing arithmetic at the 3rd grade level." He also comments that plaintiff "is very inferior in fine finger dexterity * * *." These factors are not discussed in the summary of vocational data or findings of the hearing examiner's report. The psychologist's overall evaluation is that it is "highly doubtful that he could be a productive worker because of his slowness of movement, lack of energy in things physical and mental and because of his lack of desire to want to work."
The medical evidence supports a conclusion that plaintiff's physical impairments would permit him to do light or sedentary work. The issue is whether there is light or sedentary work which this plaintiff can do, considering his age, education and work experience. In our opinion the record fails to reflect substantial evidence to support the examiner's conclusion that there is.
This conclusion rests on the testimony of a vocational consultant who gave his opinion that there were a number of light or sedentary jobs plaintiff could perform. The consultant heard plaintiff's testimony at the hearing and otherwise formed his opinions from a review of the documentary evidence. He conducted no tests or personal interviews. He testified as an expert witness in response to a hypothetical question. For documentation of job requirements, he relied upon descriptions selected from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Reliance on such catalogue studies as evidence of ability to do gainful work has repeatedly been disapproved.
Even less persuasively, the assumptions posed to the consultant by the examiner reflect no consideration for the psychologist's findings of borderline to dull normal intelligence and very inferior fine finger dexterity. Conceding that these do not rise to the statutory definition of a mental impairment, nonetheless, given plaintiff's age, education and work experience they become most significant factors in determining ability to do other gainful work. As the hearing examiner recognized in the context of the medical evidence, a conclusion gains authority from the objective findings which support it.
When a 55-year-old laborer becomes physically disabled from doing heavy labor, his rudimentary education, limited work experience and restricted mental and manual skills create very strong factual evidence of disability in terms of § 223(d) of the Act, as amended. The evidence to the contrary, indicating that there is other available work that plaintiff can do, must be proportion-ately strong. Qualitative differences between heavy manual labor in the mines and light work in industry or in an institution must be recognized.
We believe the expert opinion presented in this case, expressed upon reference to the documentary record and to a catalogue of occupational titles, fails to furnish substantial evidence for the Secretary's decision. The vocational evidence, limited to six pages of relatively superficial testimony, displays marked contrast to the painstaking medical and psychological documentation.
An appropriate order will be entered.