the plaintiff's eligibility or status for benefits expired. I must conclude, unfortunately due to the present condition of the plaintiff, that plaintiff's condition was not so severe on or before this critical date as to preclude him from engaging in some type of substantial gainful activity at any time prior to March 31, 1966, the date the plaintiff last met the special earnings requirements as required by the Social Security Act.
There is substantial evidence in the record to support the conclusion the plaintiff was first seen for migratory joint pains in January 1967, which was over nine months after he last met the special earnings requirements of the Act. The question as to when the disabling condition arose was one for the hearing examiner to resolve and it was determined that the plaintiff had the capacity to engage in substantial gainful activity before his insured status expired.
This is another example where a statute should be amended to provide for benefits where a person's physical or the organic condition of his body progresses to a point where there is a disabling condition after the critical date for the insured status, especially where the condition which arises after the critical date progressed from the condition or multiple conditions which existed before said date. There is just nothing any Court can do about circumstances such as exist in this case.
It has also been concluded with substantial evidence to support such finding that a number of jobs or gainful employment was available in the local economy, among which were jobs as a janitor, a laborer, a brewery tester, and a metal chaser.
The Secretary concluded after consideration of all the evidence of record that the plaintiff had no impairment of sufficient severity on or prior to March 31, 1966, to preclude the performance of any substantial gainful work, such as work which he had done previously.
Plaintiff is only entitled to Social Security disability insurance benefits if he can establish both the fact that he suffers from a medically determinable mental and physical 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, and the fact that it is by reason of that impairment that he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity. § 223(d) of the Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 423(d), Rachocki v. Gardner, 250 F. Supp. 317 (W.D. Pa., 1966).
Four elements of proof are to be considered in reaching determination as to a claimant's ability or inability to engage in substantial work. These factors are (1) medical data and findings, (2) expert medical opinions, (3) subjective complaints, and (4) plaintiff's age, educational background and work history. § 223(d) of the Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 423(d); Stefero v. Gardner, 285 F. Supp. 898 (E.D. Pa., 1968).
The law requires that he prove that he was disabled at the time when he last met the special insured status requirement, which in this case is March 31, 1966, and that his disability must have precluded all substantial gainful activity on or by that date. James v. Gardner, 384 F.2d 784, 786 (4th Cir. 1967); Carter v. Celebrezze, 367 F.2d 382, 384 (4th Cir. 1966); Nelson v. Gardner, 271 F. Supp. 800 (S.D.W. Va., 1967), affirmed 386 F.2d 92 (6th Cir. 1967), further the reviewing Court may not substitute its own factual findings for those of the Secretary. Boyd v. Folsom, 257 F.2d 778, 781 (3d Cir. 1958).
There is no doubt that the plaintiff did not extend any good faith efforts to find work from the time he was laid off in 1960 (at approximately age 50) to the time he claims he became disabled in 1966.
It is well settled that if there is substantial evidence to support the decision of the Secretary, then his decision must be upheld. Underwood v. Ribicoff, 298 F.2d 850 (4th Cir. 1962); Willis v. Gardner, 377 F.2d 533, 534 (4th Cir. 1967); Hodgson v. Celebrezze, 312 F.2d 260 (3d Cir. 1963); Rachocki v. Gardner, supra. Even if there is only a slight preponderance of the evidence on one side or the other, the Secretary's findings must be affirmed. Garaham v. Gardner, S.D.W. Va., Civil No. 2376, February 22, 1968.
The Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of the plaintiff is denied, and on behalf of the defendant is granted.
An appropriate Order is entered.