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SMITH v. SULLIVAN

March 29, 1990

WILLIAM A.X. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUIS W. SULLIVAN, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant


George H. Revercomb, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: REVERCOMB

GEORGE H. REVERCOMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiff applied for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act on October 8, 1987. The Secretary denied his claim at all administrative levels. This matter is before the Court pursuant to the Plaintiff's Motion for Reversal or Remand and the Defendant's Motion for Judgment of Affirmance. 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).

 I. STATUTORY FRAMEWORK

 The ALJ's May 15, 1989 decision is the final reviewable decision in this case. Plaintiff contends that the decision of the Secretary that Plaintiff is not disabled and accordingly not entitled to supplemental security income benefits is not supported by substantial evidence. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3); Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 28 L. Ed. 2d 842, 91 S. Ct. 1420 (1971) (substantial evidence test).

 The framework of the Social Security Act provisions and regulations promulgated thereunder is well-established in this circuit. See, e.g., Simms v. Sullivan, 278 U.S. App. D.C. 259, 877 F.2d 1047, 1049 (D.C.Cir. 1989); Smith v. Bowen, 264 U.S. App. D.C. 104, 826 F.2d 1120, 1121-22 (D.C. Cir. 1987); Brown v. Bowen, 253 U.S. App. D.C. 409, 794 F.2d 703, 705 (D.C.Cir. 1986).

 The Social Security Act defines "disability" 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), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act further provides that an individual will be determined to be disabled

 
only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy, regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or whether he would be hired if he applied for work.

 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(2)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(B). The claimant must establish that he was disabled prior to the expiration of his insured status. 42 U.S.C. § 423(a)(1)(A); see also Bastian v. Schweiker, 712 F.2d 1278, 1279-80 (8th Cir. 1983); Cowan v. Bowen, 664 F. Supp. 587, 588 (D.D.C. 1987).

 The Secretary has established a five-step sequential analysis to determine whether a claimant is disabled. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. The claimant bears the burden of proving: first, that he is not engaged in substantial gainful work, see id. at § 404.1520(b); second, that he has "severe" impairments, i.e., ones that "significantly limit" his ability "to do basic work activities," see id. at § 404.1520(c); third, that he has one of the impairments listed in Appendix 1, see 20 C.F.R., Part 404, Subpart P ("Listing of Impairments"), for the requisite duration, see id. at § 404.1520(d); and fourth, that his impairment prevents him from engaging in past relevant work, see id. at § 404.1520(e). If the claimant survives each of these steps, the Secretary has the burden of proving that given a claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual non-disability, he is still capable of doing work other than his past relevant work, see id. at § 404.1520(f); see also Brown v. Bowen, 794 F.2d at 706 (describing shifting burdens).

 In determining whether a claimant for supplemental income is disabled the factors to consider include: (1) medical data and findings; (2) expert medical opinions; (3) subjective complaints; and (4) the individual's age, ...


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