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SANTIAGO v. SECRETARY OF THE HHS

June 2, 1982

Margarita SANTIAGO, Plaintiff,
v.
SECRETARY OF the DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LOWE

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, pro se, appeals from a determination of the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration denying review of the administrative "hearing decision" in which her application for a Period of Disability and Disability Benefits was rejected. *fn1" For the reasons discussed below, the decision of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services is reversed. *fn2"

 FACTS

 Plaintiff was born July 7, 1943 in the Dominican Republic, T.26, where she was educated through the seventh grade, T.28. She moved to the United States in 1970, *fn3" and now resides with her three children and husband. T.27-28. Plaintiff worked from her arrival in this country up until July 1977 as a sewing machine operator. She claims that she stopped work because of a physical impairment which became disabling in December 1977.

 On October 19, 1979, plaintiff applied for disability benefits, claiming "flebitis in leg." T.46. *fn4" Her application was denied on December 17, 1979 on the ground that her impairment was not severe. T.50. Mrs. Santiago then filed a request for reconsideration on February 27, 1980, stating: "I am unable to work and my doctor, Dr. Natalia Schwartz, says I'm not able to work." T.51. In a Disability Determination dated March 13, 1980, the agency again denied plaintiff's application. It found that plaintiff's prior job was sedentary in nature, and "therefore this younger individual worker ... can go back to her customary work." T.53.

 Plaintiff then requested an administrative hearing, which was held on November 17, 1980. T.23. The Administrative Law Judge, by decision dated April 20, 1981, again denied her application for disability benefits. T.8. This decision was affirmed by the Appeals Council on August 26, 1981. T.3. The present appeal followed.

 ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

 After the hearing of November 17, 1980, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") filed a decision on April 20, 1981. He found:

 
From at least 1970 through July 1977 (subsequent to the birth of (her) youngest child) Ms. Santiago also stated to the consultative physician that she worked until she was laid off (Exhibit 18). However, the claimant now alleges that six months subsequent to the termination of employment, she became so impaired that she could no longer work. Of note, claimant was divorced in 1977, which may have influenced claimant's change of life style (Exhibit 1).

 T.9. He further wrote:

 
I reject Ms. Santiago's claim of severe pain based on her demeanor and credibility at the hearing. Further, Doctor Schaye and Doctor Schwartz's residual functional capacity (sic) are rejected as exaggerated. Doctor Outes (sic) (consultative examination Exhibit 18) report and assessment is more detailed and is supported by reasoning and evaluation, elements totally missing from the reports of Doctor Schaye and Doctor Schwartz. Further, although supposedly in bed almost all day, no one (sic) was called by the claimant to support this extreme limited activity, although ably represented by experienced counsel.

 T.9. And:

 
The claimant's appearance at the hearing did not demonstrate a person in severe constant pain. On the contrary, the flavor and content of her testimony and demeanor was less than convincing and unsupported.

 He further determined that the evaluations by Dr. Schaye and Dr. Schwartz were contradictory and not credible. In conclusion he found:

 
On the basis of all the evidence and testimony, I find that the residual physical capacity evaluation of Doctor Manuel Outes persuasively reflects the claimant's functional abilities. This evaluation demonstrates that the claimant is capable of gainful activity (Exhibit 18) and I so find. Pursuant thereto, claimant is found to be "not disabled."

 T.10.

 DISCUSSION

 Section 423(d)(1)(A) of Title 42 defines ...


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