Here, "some lesser effort" on the part of the hearing officer was definitely called for. Mr. Warmijak should have been notified that the evidence he proposed to offer would probably be of very limited value and that he would be better advised to procure and submit a current medical evaluation of his condition.
This is especially true in light of the fact that the most recent hospital records before the Secretary covered a period which ended more than a year before the Administrative Law Judge rendered his decision in this case. Thus, the hospital records were not only sparse, they were also outdated, and it was incumbent upon the Secretary at least to advise the claimant that he should amplify the medical evidence offered in support of his claim.
There are other reasons as well to doubt that the Secretary's conclusions regarding claimant's vocational abilities were supported by substantial evidence. The Administrative Law Judge made a specific finding that "(t)he claimant retained the physical capacity before September 30, 1976 to return to his former types of employment." Finding of Fact No. 4, Tr. at 10. First, it is difficult to see how the hospital records could possibly support such a conclusion when the latest hospital report available covered a period ending on October 23, 1975.
Secondly, what little evidence existed in the record apart from the hospital reports seems to contradict the Secretary's finding. The claimant's "former types of employment" included welder, forklift operator, mechanic, and construction laborer. It was apparently undisputed that his last employment occurred during the month of July in 1974. At that time, he worked as a construction laborer for a period of one week when he was laid off "due to an inability to perform job duties." Tr. at 8.
On July 28, 1975, claimant wrote a letter to his former employer, the Lukens Steel Company. He stated that he suffered from a back ailment and that he frequently had dizzy spells and blackouts when in the "standing up position." His letter inquired whether, under these circumstances, he could be considered for employment as a welder, a forklift operator or a mechanic, and if not, could he be considered for a "lesser position?" Tr. at 53, Ex. 11. Lukens' reply, dated July 30, 1975, regretfully advised Mr. Warmijak that employment with the company would involve too much heavy physical labor for a person with a back ailment, and that his dizzy spells and blackouts would pose a danger to himself as well as other employees since his duties would require him to work with mobile equipment and machinery. Tr. at 54, Ex. 12.
While this evidence is certainly insufficient to establish a claimant's disability, it at least raised doubts about Mr. Warmijak's capacity to return to some or all of the types of employment that he had previously performed. It was therefore incumbent upon the Secretary to make precise findings as to which of his previous jobs claimant was still qualified for, what other types of employment he might be qualified for, and whether such jobs were currently available. The present record contains neither the report of a vocational expert
nor any other evidence upon which such findings could be based. See Daniel v. Gardner, 390 F.2d 32 (5th Cir. 1968).
I am therefore remanding this case to the Secretary in order that a complete record can be developed as to the claimant's actual physical condition. If Mr. Warmijak succeeds in establishing that his disability prevents him from engaging in any of his former types of employment within the meaning of the Social Security Act, it will be the Secretary's burden to show that there are other types of employment for which claimant is qualified, and that such jobs are available. Lewis v. Weinberger, 515 F.2d 584 (5th Cir. 1975).