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BITTEL v. FINCH
April 10, 1970
Bertha M. BITTEL, Plaintiff,
Robert H. FINCH, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Defendant
Marsh, Chief Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH
On November 7, 1967, plaintiff filed with the Social Security Administration an application to establish a period of disability under § 216(i) of the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 416(i), and an application for disability insurance benefits under § 223 of the Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 423, alleging that she became unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity on March 16, 1967, as a result of "heart impairment, high blood pressure, poor circulation & hiatal hernia" (R., p. 87). Plaintiff's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration by the Bureau of Disability Insurance, and at her request a hearing was held before a hearing examiner of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals who also denied her claims. On June 4, 1969, the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration advised plaintiff that her request for review by it of the hearing examiner's decision was denied; whereupon, pursuant to § 205(g) of the Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), plaintiff commenced this action to obtain a judicial review of the decision of the Secretary
denying her claims. With his answer to plaintiff's complaint, defendant filed a certified copy of the record of the proceedings before the Administration in compliance with § 205(g) of the Act, and subsequently cross motions for summary judgment were filed by the parties.
Section 205(g), supra, provides in its pertinent part as follows:
"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. The findings of the Secretary as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive * * *." 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Under § 205(g) and under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., we are limited to "ascertaining whether on the record as a whole there is substantial evidence to support the Secretary's findings of fact." Goldman v. Folsom, 246 F.2d 776, 778 (3d Cir. 1957).
"[The] test for disability consists of two parts: (1) a determination of the extent of the applicant's physical or mental impairment, and (2) a determination whether that impairment results in an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity." Bujnovsky v. Celebrezze, 343 F.2d 868, 870 (3d Cir. 1965).
Section 223(d) of the Act, supra, provides:
"(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 (1)(A) --
"(A) an individual * * * shall be determined to be under a disability only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy, regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or whether he would be hired if he applied for work. For purposes of the preceding sentence (with respect to any individual), 'work which exists ...
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