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BEASLEY v. BOWEN

June 28, 1988

RENEE BEASLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
OTIS R. BOWEN, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT

 JOHN H. PRATT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiff, Renee Beasley, brings this action seeking review of a final decision of the defendant, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, which denied plaintiff's application for child's disability insurance benefits under Title II, Section 202(d) and 223(a) of the Social Security Act ("Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 402(d) & 423(a)(1982). Jurisdiction lies under Section 205(g) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 405(g)(1982). Presently before us are plaintiff's motion for summary judgment *fn1" and defendant's motion for judgment of affirmance. For the reasons set forth below, we find that defendant's decision is not supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, we reverse.

 I. Procedural History

 Plaintiff filed an application for disability benefits with the Department of Health and Human Services ("the Agency") on November 22, 1983. After her claim was initially denied, she moved for reconsideration. When her application was again rejected, she requested an oral hearing, which was granted.

 The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") who presided over the hearing concluded that Renee Beasley was not entitled to disability insurance benefits. Request for review by the Appeals Council was denied. The adverse decision of the ALJ then stood as the final decision of the Secretary in the claimant's case.

 This litigation was filed on September 17, 1985. After remand to the Agency for redetermination, the Appeals Council subsequently vacated its previous denial of review, and remanded plaintiff's case to an ALJ for further proceedings. On August 22, 1986 the ALJ issued a decision once again finding that plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act. The ALJ based this determination on his conclusion that the claimant was not disabled as of March 12, 1981, the date on which she attained the age of 22, and that she was capable of performing jobs which exist in significant numbers in the national economy. On February 2, 1987 the Appeals Council issued a decision adopting the findings and conclusions of the ALJ, with one modification. The February 2, 1987 decision constitutes the defendant's final determination, and is presently before us for review.

 II. Discussion

 It is clear that plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a disability as defined by the Social Security Act in order to be entitled to benefits. Hess v. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, 497 F.2d 837, 840 (3rd Cir. 1974). The parties agree that the sole issue before us is whether, on the record as a whole, there is substantial evidence to support the Agency's final findings.

 A. Plaintiff's burden with respect to the underlying controversy

 The child of an individual entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits, or the child of an individual who dies fully or currently insured, is entitled to child's disability benefits, under Section 202(d)(1)(B) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 402(d)(1)(B), if at the time of her application, she is "under a disability (as defined in section 423(d) of this title) which began before [she] attained the age of twenty-two " (emphasis added). *fn2" The Act defines "disability," for purposes of the child's disability insurance benefits, as the inability

 
to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental 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.

 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505.

 The Act further provides that an individual will be ...


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