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Degner v. Celebrezze

May 28, 1963

CLARA DEGNER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Author: Knoch

Before SCHNACKENBERG, KNOCH and SWYGERT, Circuit Judges.

KNOCH, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff, Clara Degner, brought this action in the United States District Court to review the decision of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, that plaintiff was not entitled to a period of disability under the Social Security Act, § 216(i) [42 U.S.C. § 416(i)] which provides in § 216(i) (1) that:

"[The] term 'disability' means (A) 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 to be of long-continued and indefinite duration * * *."

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) the findings of the Secretary as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive.

As the District Judge stated:

"The issue is whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the findings and conclusions * * * that plaintiff is physically able to do work which does not involve prolonged sitting, standing or heavy lifting and is thus able to engage in substantial gainful activity although she cannot perform the work she had previously done."

He concluded from his review of the record that there was substantial evidence supporting the findings, and he, therefore, sustained the defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff's appeal followed.

Plaintiff contends here, as she did in the District Court, that the transcript inaccurately presented the testimony at her hearing before the referee-hearing officer, whose decision became "final" when the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, denied plaintiff's request for review.

The transcript of the record has been certified by the Chairman of the Appeals Council to be a full and accurate transcription of the entire record relating to plaintiff's claim for benefits.

The axiomatic presumption of regularity of official acts would support the District Judge's evident conclusion that the transcript herein was properly prepared. U.S. v. Chemical Foundation, Inc., 272 U.S. 1, 14, 47 S. Ct. 1, 71 L. Ed. 131 (1926). We have, nevertheless, carefully considered the oral and briefed arguments of plaintiff who appeared before us pro se, with reference to this as well as to other points urged by her. Some of her charges of inaccuracy in the transcript appear to be the result of misunderstanding. For example, plaintiff states in her brief:

"I worked about twenty years as a beauty operator. Not eight years like it is written in the referee's decision. I can prove that."

The application to establish disability, photostat of which is before us, asks under item 12(a) thereof:

"Starting 3 years before the date shown in question 6, [May, 1948] give the following information about any work you ...


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