The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
This is an action against the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, under Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 405(g), to review a final decision of the Secretary denying plaintiff's application for the establishment of a period of disability under Section 216(i) of the Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 416(i), and for disability insurance benefits as provided by Section 223 of the Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 423. Section 205(g) provides, inter alia, that "As part of his answer, the Secretary shall file a certified copy of the transcript of the record including the evidence upon which the findings and decision complained of are based," and that "The Court shall have power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the Secretary, with or without remanding the cause for a rehearing." It also provides that "the findings of the Secretary as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive."
The plaintiff filed his application for the establishment of a period of disability and for disability insurance benefits on June 28, 1967, alleging that he became unable to work on April 28, 1967, at age 43, because of a heart condition, emphysema, and silicosis. The application was denied initially, and on reconsideration by the Bureau of Disability Insurance of the Social Security Administration.
Plaintiff then asked for a hearing before the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration. This hearing was held on May 15, 1968. Upon conclusion, the hearing examiner, before whom plaintiff, his attorney, and a vocational expert appeared and testified, considered the case de novo and on June 28, 1968, issued his decision, finding that the plaintiff was not under a disability. Plaintiff's request for a review of this decision was granted by the Appeals Council on August 27, 1968. Upon receipt of additional evidence, the Appeals Council considered the case and on April 8, 1969, found that plaintiff was not under a disability. This decision of the Appeals Council is the final decision of the Secretary. 20 CFR § 404.951.
The issue in this case is whether the decision of the Secretary that the plaintiff has failed to establish that he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of his alleged impairments is supported by substantial evidence.
The plaintiff is a resident of a small mining community and at the time of the hearing was 44 years of age. At the age of 16 he had only completed six grades of formal education and at that time began to work in the coal mines and continued to so work until April 28, 1967. Other than this work in the coal mines, the plaintiff did no other work other than a sealer with Fisher Body Company.
While a coal miner, the plaintiff loaded coal, operated a cutting machine, operated a coal mole, ran a shuttle car, bolted roof and timbered and was a machine helper. All of the work was in a dusty environment and was hard manual labor.
His principal complaints are shortness of breath and his heart condition. None of these conditions, according to the medical data of record, are such, however, that individually or in combination preclude him from engaging in substantial gainful activity. On the contrary, the data show that while plaintiff has pneumonoconiosis compatible with silicosis of the lungs, there is no significant disturbance of ventilatory function and that his cardiac status is within normal limits.
Plaintiff claims he has been unable to work since a heart involvement in April 1967. He spends most of his spare time at a gas station where he socializes with his friends. He also watches television, drives to the post office, and goes fishing whenever possible.
Sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 416(i) and 423(d), as amended by Section 158 (b), Public Law 90-248, 81 Stat. 821, defines the term "disability" to provide, in part:
"(d)(1) The term 'disability' means -
"(A) inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months; * * *
"(2) For purposes of paragraph ...