statement, unsupported by medical evidence, may be discounted. But all three physicians exhaustively recite the objective medical tests which give rise to their opinions. Two of those physicians have the considerably significant advantage of observing the plaintiff over an extended period of treatment. We will not under these circumstances permit the ALJ to substitute his medical opinion for those of three qualified physicians.
The ALJ discounted plaintiff's complaints of pain, largely on the basis of the "sit and squirm" test. While the claimant's appearance is a factor for consideration, the failure of claimant to evidence obvious discomfort in a brief hearing is no basis on which to reject his complaints and the opinions of three physicians. Lewis v. Califano, 616 F.2d 73 (3d Cir. 1980). This is particularly true where, as here, the claimant admits that he can sit for short periods without significant discomfort.
The ALJ also notes that plaintiff takes medication which gives some relief, but ignores Dr. Torio's report that plaintiff's pain persists, even with medication, and is aggravated by standing, walking and climbing stairs. Finally, the ALJ states that plaintiff's complaints of pain are not supported by objective medical evidence. Rather than repeat ourselves we refer the reader to the discussion above concerning the medical support for the physicians' opinions.
The ALJ based the denial of benefits on his conclusion that plaintiff could perform his past relevant work as a plant manager. However, that job required 6 hours of walking in an 8 hour day, and plaintiff's physicians indicate that plaintiff is incapable of prolonged walking or standing. The evidence plainly contradicts the ALJ's conclusion. This is likewise true of the ALJ's conclusion that plaintiff is capable of all but heavy lifting.
At this stage we see no reason for remand. All medical evidence and three physicians indicate that the plaintiff is totally disabled from all employment. The decision of the Secretary will therefore be reversed and benefits awarded.