mental condition lacked substantial evidence and that to the contrary there exists substantial evidence that plaintiff in fact is disabled because of his depression and nervousness.
The Court, however, need not rest its decision in this case solely on that basis. Even if the mental condition alone were not sufficient to cause plaintiff to be disabled, when one considers the combined effect of this depression and nervousness with the undeniable physical manifestations of his multiple sclerosis, plaintiff clearly is disabled within the meaning of this Act and entitled to benefits. These combined effects must be considered for the Act seeks to administer relief to the whole man and not simply to serve as a vehicle for the separate clinical analysis of individual ailments. E.g., Bittel v. Richardson, 441 F.2d 1193, 1195 (3d Cir. 1971); Dillon v. Celebrezze, 345 F.2d 753, 755-57 (5th Cir. 1965). The record shows that plaintiff is blind in the right eye, that he occasionally suffers temporary blindness in the left eye, that he encounters periods of pain in the abdomen or hip, that he has coordination problems and occasional numbness in some of his extremities, and that he suffers from depression and nervousness. Disability necessarily means the combination and interrelation of the various individual ailments. It takes only elementary common sense to look at the record of this man's physical and mental condition to see that the sum of the evidence here equals total disability. There is no substantial evidence in the record to the contrary.
Once plaintiff has proved his impairments, the burden is on the defendant to show that he nevertheless can engage in "substantial gainful work." See Massey v. Celebrezze, 345 F.2d 146, 157 (6th Cir. 1965). To meet this burden defendant has emphasized plaintiff's few efforts at employment while he suffered from these illnesses. The record shows, however, that this reliance is misplaced. He was discharged from his Air Force service because of this disability, and his subsequent efforts at work have all failed. When he worked as a teacher, it was only as a volunteer. Moreover, he testified that he finally had to quit this activity because the children affected his nerves. He tried operating an office machine, but because of the problems with his eyesight and physical impairments, he was not successful. He also tried to work as a store clerk on two occasions, but again failed, even though one of the employers was his brother who was sympathetic to his condition.
Although these efforts may have resulted in sporadic, limited earnings, they hardly can be deemed to have been substantially gainful. "Substantial" is an expressed qualification within the statute, and it must be given a reasonable interpretation. See Resnikoff v. Gardner, 290 F. Supp. 638, 640-41 (N.D. Fla. 1968). One may attempt to work even though he is disabled. Cf. Mabry v. Travelers Ins. Co., 193 F.2d 497, 498 (5th Cir. 1952) (interpreting total disability in workmen's compensation case). Were the Court to find from this record that plaintiff can still engage in "substantial gainful work" in spite of his condition, it would penalize those who try to stay off the welfare rolls out of a desire for self-sufficiency in favor of those who make no effort to do so.
The Social Security Act was passed with understanding and compassion for the men and women of this nation who are unable to overcome on their own the hurdles that life has placed before them. See Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619, 641, 81 L. Ed. 1307, 57 S. Ct. 904 (1937). Its protection was intended to be inclusive in scope, not exclusive, and plaintiff need not be bedridden to receive that protection. See Thomas v. Celebrezze, 331 F.2d 541, 546 (4th Cir. 1964); Ferguson v. Celebrezze, 232 F. Supp. 952, 956-57 (W.D.S.C. 1964). Accordingly, the agency should view the evidence submitted by the applicant in a light most favorable to him. Labee v. Cohen, 408 F.2d 998, 1000 (5th Cir. 1969); Selewich v. Finch, 312 F. Supp. 191, 195 (D. Mass. 1969). Such a perspective is particularly important in a case like this one involving multiple sclerosis. Its clinical signs and symptoms are variable, and the condition has periods of sudden remission and recurrence without any apparent cause, thus making any kind of treatment or diagnosis difficult and hazardous.
3A R. Gray, Attorneys' Textbook of Medicine para. 88.68(4) (3d ed. 1977).
In conclusion, the Court finds that the administrative law judge's conclusions are not supported by substantial evidence and that on the contrary the record does reveal substantial evidence that plaintiff is totally disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. Accordingly, it is by the Court this 30th day of November, 1977,
ORDERED that plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be, and hereby is, granted; and it is further
ORDERED that the decision of the Secretary be, and hereby is, reversed; and it is further
ORDERED that the claimant Harold E. Champion be adjudged entitled to benefits under the provisions of the Social Security Act together with payment of benefits for such retroactive periods as are by statute allowed; and it is further
ORDERED that defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be, and hereby is, denied.
Oliver Gasch/ / Judge