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STEWART v. APFEL

March 9, 1998

CHARLES E. STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
KENNETH S. APFEL, 1 COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,2 Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HURD

 This matter is brought pursuant to §§ 205(g) and 1631(b)(3) of the Social Security Act ("Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), to review a final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security denying plaintiff's claims of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. The parties have filed their briefs, including the Administrative Record on Appeal, and the matter has been submitted to this Court without oral argument.

 I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

 On October 1, 1993, a hearing was held before ALJ Joseph F. Gibbons. In a decision dated November 22, 1993, the ALJ determined that the plaintiff was not entitled to disability benefits. Following a request for review, on April 19, 1994, the Appeals Council vacated the hearing decision and remanded the case to the ALJ for further consideration. Thus, on June 28, 1994, ALJ Gibbons conducted a supplemental hearing, and pursuant to the remand by the Appeals Council, obtained testimony from a Vocation Expert. As a result, on August 25, 1994, the ALJ again determined that the plaintiff was not entitled to receive disability benefits.

 The decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied the plaintiff's request for review on February 8, 1995. Plaintiff now brings this appeal. This Court must determine if the findings of the Commissioner of Social Security are supported by substantial evidence.

 II. FACTS

 This court adopts the facts set forth in the plaintiff's brief with any exceptions as noted.

 III. CONTENTIONS

 Plaintiff contends that the ALJ's decision was erroneous for the following reasons:

 
1. The ALJs' decision failed to find that the medical evidence in the nature of the consultative examinations, supported by the testimony of the plaintiff and his wife, sufficiently meet or equaled the listing for a personality disorder entitling plaintiff to disability benefits.
 
2. The ALJ failed to properly consider or evaluate the severity of the plaintiff's impairments including their combined effect.
 
3. The ALJ failed to accurately present plaintiffs impairments and functional limitations to the Vocational Expert.

 IV. DISCUSSION

 A. Standard of ...


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