The opinion of the court was delivered by: Glasser, District Judge:
This is an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3) for review of
a final decision by the defendant Secretary of Health and Human
Services (the "Secretary") which denied the application of
Harkless Peed for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits
under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. For the reasons set
forth below, this case is remanded for a new administrative
Mr. Peed first applied for SSI benefits in 1988; he claimed
disability by reason of high blood pressure, diabetes, and
arthritis. His application was denied, and this denial was
affirmed by an administrative law judge ("ALJ") after a hearing
on March 13, 1989 at which Mr. Peed appeared pro se. After the
Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Department of Health and
Human Services denied his request for review, the decision of
the Secretary became final; Mr. Peed then filed this action in
October of 1989. He is now represented by counsel.
1. Evidence of Plaintiff's Disability
The plaintiff, Harkless Peed, is a 64-year-old black male who
claims to have been disabled since 1986 by reason of diabetes,
hypertension, arthritis, and poor vision. Mr. Peed is a high
school graduate, and he worked as a truck driver until he was
laid off in April of 1986. That job required Mr. Peed to
deliver oil burners and heating supplies that weighed over 100
pounds; he contends that his arthritis eventually prevented him
from satisfactory performance of these duties. He has sought
employment as a chauffeur since 1986, but he did not have the
Mr. Peed complains of arthritis in his back, in his shoulder,
and in his hips. He states that, on the advice of his
physician, he tries to walk two miles each day, but that
shortness of breath and weakness of legs often prevent him from
completing the entire distance. He says that he experiences
pain in the morning, in the evening, and when the weather is
bad. He visits a Veterans Administration clinic every two
months for treatment of his several maladies.
Three physicians examined Mr. Peed in conjunction with the
processing of his application for SSI benefits. The first, Dr.
Kohn of the Brooklyn Hospital, examined Mr. Peed on March 28,
1988. He diagnosed Mr. Peed as having insulin-dependent
diabetes "under unknown control," hypertension "presently
poorly controlled," "[h]eart problems . . . of unclear nature,"
"[v]ision problems by history with evidence of a cataract in
the left eye . . .," "[a]rthritis of the left shoulder on
examination . . .," and "[p]ossible history of alcoholism. . .
." (Tr. 131). The second physician, Dr. Ahrens Palumbo,
examined Mr. Peed on April 6, 1988, and he diagnosed "[m]yopia,
slight background diabetic retinopathy." (Tr. 142). The final
examining physician, Dr. Peter Graham, saw Mr. Peed on August
30, 1988. He diagnosed: "Chest pains. . . . EKG does not
indicate the presence of previous myocardial infarction. . . .
Diabetes mellitus. . . . Hypertension, poorly controlled with
present regimen. . . . Arthritis by history. No functional
deficit. . . . Back pains by history. . . . No functional
deficit noted." (Tr. 147).
The administrative record also contains approximately two
hundred pages of Mr. Peed's medical records obtained by
subpoena from the Veterans Administration. These records
contain charts, test results, diagnoses, and prognoses of
several physicians at the Veterans Administration — including
the physicians whom Mr. Peed himself referred to as his primary
treating physicians. These entries tend to confirm the
existence of the illnesses claimed by Mr. Peed. For example,
two entries by Dr. Behr (dated January 23, 1988 and October 24,
1988) refer to Mr. Peed's complaints of pain in his left
shoulder. In both entries, Dr. Behr diagnoses "osteoarthritis"
and prescribes 400 mg of Motrin (with advice to Mr. Peed to
return for another visit in three months). (Tr. 164, 165). Mr.
Peed's second treating physician at the Veterans
Administration, Dr. Advani, also recorded entries that tend to
support Mr. Peed's claims. For example, on August 4, 1988, Dr.
Advani noted "HPN & DM"; these abbreviations no doubt refer to
hypertension and diabetes mellitus. (Tr. 167). Similar entries
by Dr. Advani are found for earlier dates. (Tr. 175).
Despite the volume of medical records from the Veterans
Administration, however, most entries are in the form of "raw
data" — laboratory reports, test results, and brief notations
by various physicians. One of the few entries that presents a
comprehensive report of Mr. Peed's status is a "case summary"
handwritten by Dr. Robert J. Moran and dated November 14, 1986:
Harkless Peed is a 60 y/o man treated regularly at
the VA out-pt clinic Ryerson Street. He has
insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus for which he
takes NPH insulin: 35 units a.m. and 7 units p.m.
He has hypertension requiring treatment with
Minipress 2 mg. . . . He also has osteoarthritis
for which he takes Motrin 400 mg. . . . The
patient complains of weakness of both upper
extremities. His range of motion at shoulder
joints seems somewhat limited by pain, especially
on the left and he has difficulty fully raising
his arm over his head. I am referring the patient
to neurology for further evaluation of this
(Tr. 295). The records from the Veterans' Administration do
not, however, appear to contain any ultimate diagnosis by any
of Mr. Peed's treating physicians as to Mr. Peed's disability
2. The Administrative Proceedings
Mr. Peed appeared for an administrative hearing on March 13,
1989 before an ALJ. The ALJ advised Mr. Peed, who appeared pro
se, that he had a right to representation by counsel, but Mr.
Peed agreed to proceed without an attorney. (Tr. 17-18). The
ALJ inquired extensively about Mr. Peed's age (Tr. 19),
education (Tr. 19-20), present living arrangements (Tr. 20-22),
previous employment (Tr. 23-25), and his attempt to obtain a
job as a chauffeur (Tr. 26-27). However, the ALJ asked Mr. ...