The opinion of the court was delivered by: Will, District Judge.
Joe Holliday and the Secretary of Health and Human Services
(the Secretary) have filed cross motions for summary judgment,
seeking review of the denial, by an Administrative Law Judge
(the ALJ), of Holliday's applications for a period of
disability and disability insurance benefits and Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) benefits under the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C. § 416(i), 423 and 1381. Our jurisdiction and
Holliday's cause of action arise under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and
1383(c)(3). For the reasons stated below, we deny the
Secretary's motion and we grant Holliday's motion to the extent
that he asks us to reverse the ALJ's decision and to remand his
case for rehearing.
Holliday filed an application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits on October 7, 1980, and an
application for SSI benefits on December 30, 1980, alleging
that on September 30, 1980, he became disabled and unable to
work because of a "back problem" and varicose veins in both
legs (R. 40). The applications were denied initially (R.
79-90) and on reconsideration (R. 49-51) by the Office of
Disability Operations upon the evaluation by a physician and
by a disability examiner from the Illinois Bureau of
Services of a medical report (to that state agency) by another
physician. (See R. 81) On December 18, 1981, the ALJ held a de
novo hearing, at which Holliday was represented by counsel. The
ALJ found that Holliday was not under a disability (R. 5-11).
The ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Secretary
when the Appeals Council approved it on April 6, 1982 (R. 2).
Holliday was born in Mississippi on July 27, 1936. He was
therefore forty-five years old both at the time of the ALJ's
decision and at the time that that decision became the
Secretary's final decision. Holliday attended a rural
Mississippi school to the eighth grade (R. 20, 29), but
describes his ability to read and write as "rather poor" (R.
29). He can sign his own name (see, e.g., R. 12, which appears
to contain a copy of Holliday's signature), but does not write
anything else (R. 29). He could not read the notices which he
received from the Social Security Administration, and had his
sister read them to him. He does not read the daily newspaper
or do any other reading (R. 29). According to Holliday, there
is "not much" that he can read (R. 29).
Most of Holliday's past employment consisted of repairing
and recapping truck tires (R. 29, 70). Tire repair required
him to lift tires, some of which weighed up to 250 pounds,
required him to stand or walk during nearly all of his work
day, and required constant bending and reaching (R. 30, 71).
Apparently, whatever reading and judgment that this job might
otherwise call for was exercised by Holliday's boss rather
than by Holliday. According to Holliday, his boss would
instruct him as to the proper size of the rims to be placed
inside the tires which Holliday recapped (R. 30). Holliday's
other past employment consisted of driving a tow truck,
scrubbing floors, washing cars, and being a janitor (R. 58,
On September 30, 1980, Holliday stopped working because "my
legs would swell and I'd give out. I was having dizzy, dizzy
spells" (R. 22). He has not worked since that time.
In October of 1980, Holliday was examined by Dr. Henry T.
Pimental, whose "Peripheral Vascular Report" to the (Illinois)
Bureau of Disability Adjudication Services notes that Holliday
had varicose veins in both legs and lumbar disc syndrome (R.
81). This report indicates that Holliday had "distortion of
veins and sacculation" and stassis dermatitis,*fn1 but had no
temperature changes, atrophy, or intermittent
claudication.*fn2 Dr. Pimental's report also notes that
Holliday was "unable to stand for long periods of time," and
that Holliday's pain was "moderate" but "increases with
standing long periods" (R. 81-82). Dr. Pimental also noted
that Holliday had a "slightly stiff" gait, but that ambulation
was "normal" and not dependent upon the use of a cane or
crutch. No decalcification, compression fraction, vertebral
dislocation, or spinal ankylosis*fn3 were evident. The report
indicates that Holliday's response to treatment was
"fair," but that his condition was "deteriorating" (R. 81).
Dr. Pimental declined to recommend surgery, but wrote no
reason for that decision (R. 83).
Dr. Mila Bacalla, a physician retained by the Social
Security Administration, examined Holliday on June 10, 1981
(R. 84). Holliday complained of low back pain, hypertension,
pain in the legs, and nervousness (R. 84). Dr. Bacalla noted
that Holliday's "general appearance" was that of a well
developed, slightly obese, cooperative patient in no acute
distress (R. 85). There was no evidence of joint swelling, but
Dr. Bacalla reported severe varicosities bilaterally,
appearing in cords in both legs. There were nodules along the
veins, particularly on the left side, and severe dermatitis,
especially on the left leg, but no edema (R. 86-87). The left
calf also appeared tender, and there was a positive Homan's
sign*fn4 and a positive Trendelenburg's test*fn5 for the
left leg (R. 86). Dr. Bacalla noted that Holliday "elevates
his legs most of the time to relieve the discomfort" (R. 84).
He concluded that "[t]hese clinical findings impose
restriction as far as the patient's prolonged ambulation is
concerned" (R. 87).
Dr. Bacalla noted that Holliday had normal posture, with
some tenderness in the lumbosacral region with some
paravertebral muscle spasm (R. 86). X-rays of the lumbosacral
spine showed lipping*fn6 at L3, L4, and L5 (R. 88). Dr.
Bacalla noted that Holliday walked with a limp towards the
left side with a poor ability to walk on his heels and toes,
but observed that Holliday had no difficulty dressing or
undressing, getting on or off the examining table, or rising
from a sitting position (R. 85).
Holliday informed Dr. Bacalla that he is able to walk about
one block and climb one flight of stairs, and that bending,
stooping, lifting, and prolonged walking aggravate his pain
(R. 84, 87). Holliday described his pain as aching and
constant, and radiating from his lower back through his legs,
and also told Dr. Bacalla that he has occasional headaches and
frequent dizziness (R. 84).
Dr. Bacalla stated that with regard to Holliday's
nervousness, there was no evidence of any acute psychotic
symptoms or any previous mental or emotional treatment (R.
87). Dr. Bacalla noted that Holliday had been taking
medication for pain and for high blood pressure, but that his
supply of medicines had run out (R. 84).
At his hearing, Holliday stated that due to lack of money he
was no longer under a physician's care and no longer took any
medication (R. 22). He complained of pain in his back and in
his legs (R. 23). Holliday stated that his legs swell and that
he "sit[s] around and elevate[s]" his legs to relieve the
swelling (R. 24). Holliday estimated that he could sit "around
[without elevating his legs] about 20, maybe about 20, 25
minutes" at one time (R. 23), and could stand "maybe about
half an hour" (R. 24). According to Holliday, Dr. Pimental
told him that his varicose veins were "too bad to operate on"
Holliday stated that he has frequent dizzy spells, and had
had such a spell "on the elevator there a few minutes ago" (R.
23). He claimed to be able to walk "about a block" without
stopping to rest (R. 24), but stated that he is able to lift
"groceries or something like that . . . [m]aybe 20 or 25
pounds" (R. 25).
Holliday also claimed that he experiences pain in his chest
and in his right hand (R. 23). The pain in his hand interferes
with his grip (R. 23). Holliday is right handed (R. 20).
Holliday lives with his sister at her house (R. 20). His
sister does all the shopping (R. 25); as Holliday puts it,
there "[a]in't much I can do around the house" (R. 24).
Holliday has a driver's license, but no longer drives (R. 25).
The ALJ concluded on the basis of this evidence that
although Holliday's varicose veins did not match the degree of
severity sufficient for a per se finding of disability under
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d) and Rule 4.12 of Appendix 1 to Subpart
P of the social security regulations, his varicose veins
prevent his return to his past work, all of which required
substantial periods of walking or standing (R. 9-10). However,
the ALJ concluded that Holliday retains the capacity for
"sedentary work" within the meaning of that term of art as
defined by 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567 and 416.967. The ALJ relied
upon Holliday's statement that he could lift objects weighing
20 to 25 pounds. The ALJ also noted that although
[t]he claimant testified to discomfort above the
ankles after prolonged sitting . . . the
attending physician mentioned no limitation on
the claimant's capacity for sitting nor any
necessity for him to elevate his legs. The
Administrative Law Judge finds that the claimant
retains the capacity ...