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PYSHER v. HECKLER

July 16, 1986

RICHARD A. PYSHER, Plaintiff,
v.
MARGARET M. HECKLER, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAHN

CAHN, J.

 MEMORANDUM OPINION

 This is an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (1983) to review the final decision of the Secretary of Health and Human Services ("Secretary"). The Secretary denied the claimant's applications for child's insurance benefits and disability insurance benefits. For the reasons stated below, I will affirm the Secretary's decision.

 I.

 The claimant in this case, Mr. Richard A. Pysher, applied for insurance benefits, claiming that he was disabled as the result of a childhood injury. At age 10, the claimant fell into a cesspool and sustained severe chemical burns on his legs. The claimant spent the next 18 months in the hospital, where he received over 60 skin grafts. As a result of his injury, Mr. Pysher could neither sit nor stand for a prolonged period of time. If he remained sitting or standing for an hour or more, his legs became numb and stiff.

 When he left the hospital, Mr. Pysher returned to school. He continued his education until the age of 18, when he dropped out of the ninth grade. After quitting school, Mr. Pysher did not have a full time job, and he received no vocational training. He made inconsequential earnings by doing yard maintenance work, such as mowing lawns.

 As a supplement to his income, Mr. Pysher received child's insurance benefits. The claimant began receiving benefits at age 13, when his father became disabled due to an incurable lung disease. The claimant qualified for benefits under 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B)(i) because he was dependent upon his disabled father and was under the age of 18. When Mr. Pysher attained the age of 18, he reapplied for benefits. The claimant qualified under 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B)(ii) because he was dependent upon his disabled father and was himself under a disability which began before age 22. Mr. Pysher continued to receive these benefits until 1977, when he began a nine month trial work period.

 In 1977, the claimant obtained full-time employment at a textile mill as a general laborer. He lifted rolls of material weighing as much as 60 pounds and put them on a machine. He cut the material according to specified dimensions. To prepare it for shipping, he then put the material on boards. The job required him to stand most of the day. Despite his condition, Mr. Pysher was able to perform this job because his employer allowed him to take the pressure off his legs by sitting and standing when necessary. In 1981, the textile mill went out of business, and the claimant became unemployed.

 Since that time, Mr. Pysher has been unsuccessful in obtaining employment. Although he did not lose his job for any health reason, the claimant stated that he could not obtain new employment because of his condition. The claimant alleged that he was disabled as a result of his injury at age 10.

 Having received child's insurance benefits until 1977, Mr. Pysher had 84 months in which to apply for reentitlement. *fn1" See 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(6)(B). In March of 1982, Mr. Pysher filed a timely application for child's insurance benefits and disability insurance benefits. The Office of Disability Operations of the Social Security Administration denied both claims. At the reconsideration hearing later that month, both claims were again denied.

 In November of 1982, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") considered the case de novo. After considering the testimony and medical evidence presented at the hearing, the ALJ decided that Mr. Pysher's impairment was not severe enough to preclude him from engaging in substantial gainful employment. Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Pysher was not disabled under the Social Security Act and not entitled to receive child's insurance benefits or disability insurance benefits. In March of 1983, the Appeals Council denied the claimant's request for review. Thus, the ALJ's opinion became the final decision of the Secretary.

 Having exhausted his administrative remedies, Mr. Pysher brought this action in federal court. The claimant asserts that the Secretary's decision was not supported by substantial evidence and that the ALJ committed reversible error at the hearing. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

 II.

 The standard of judicial review is whether the Secretary's decision was supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (1983); Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 28 L. Ed. 2d 842, 91 S. Ct. 1420 (1971); Smith v. Califano, 637 F.2d 968, 970 (3d Cir. 1981). If supported by substantial evidence, the Secretary's decision must be affirmed. Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a ...


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