The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mihm, District Judge.
Pearce filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits
on December 31, 1981 alleging disability beginning in March of
1978. (Tr. 145-148). Pearce's insured status expired prior to the
alleged onset date, and his claim for benefits was denied.
On January 19, 1983, Pearce filed a second application for
Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income,
again alleging disability beginning in March of 1978. (Tr.
160-163, 169-173).*fn1 Both of these claims were denied. (Tr.
On March 17, 1983, Pearce requested reconsideration, amending
his application to reflect an alleged disability onset date of
January 1985. (Tr. 175). Upon reconsideration, both claims were
again denied. (Tr. 176-177).
Subsequently, Pearce requested an administrative hearing on
both claims. (Tr. 178) On November 4, 1983, a hearing was held
before an Administrative Law Judge (hereafter ALJ). (Tr. 44-77).
The ALJ determined that Pearce did not suffer from a severe
impairment, and was, therefore, not entitled to Supplemental
Security Income. (Tr. 283). Regarding Pearce's claim for
Disability Insurance Benefits, the ALJ applied administrative res
judicata pursuant to Pearce's December 23, 1981 application and
dismissed the claim. (Tr. 286-287).
On March 29, 1984, Pearce requested review of the hearing
decision by the Appeals Council (Tr. 288), and submitted new
evidence. (Tr. 298-301). Regarding Pearce's Supplemental Security
Income claim, the Appeals Council determined that the new
evidence established that Pearce did, in fact, suffer from a
severe impairment. (Tr. 303). However, the new evidence was found
to not conform to the standards set forth by the Social Security
regulations. (Tr. 303). For this reason, the Appeals Council
specifically remanded the case to an ALJ and ordered the ALJ to
obtain medical testing, which conformed to the regulations, and a
medical assessment of Pearce's ability to perform work related
activities. (Tr. 304).
As to Pearce's claim for Disability Insurance Benefits, the
Appeals Council determined that Pearce's insured status date had
been incorrectly computed, and therefore, reopened both the
December 1981 and January 1983 applications. (Tr. 304). The
Appeals Council noted that Pearce reported work activity from
1974 to 1978. (Tr. 304). Based on this work activity, the ALJ was
directed to make a finding as to whether Pearce had engaged in
gainful activity, and, if so, the testimony of a vocational
expert (hereafter VE) was ordered to assess Pearce's transferable
skills. (Tr. 304).
Pursuant to the Appeals Council's remand order, Pearce arrived
at a consultative examination on September 28, 1984. (Tr.
309).*fn2 In addition, two further hearings were held where
testimony was heard from Pearce, Pearce's friend, and a VE. (Tr.
78-126). Subsequently, the ALJ issued a decision finding that
because Pearce had refused to meaningfully participate in the
consultative examination, his claims for Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income were denied. (Tr.
On April 26, 1985, Pearce requested review of the hearing
decision (Tr. 26), and submitted additional evidence to the
Appeals Council. (Tr. 16-21). The Appeals Council determined that
the additional evidence did not follow the protocol established
by the Social Security regulations or otherwise did not provide a
basis to invalidate the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 4). Thus, on January
22, 1986, the decision of the ALJ became the Secretary's final
decision. Subsequently, Pearce sought judicial review of the
Secretary's final decision.
Both parties identify the issue before this Court to be
"whether the final decision of the Secretary is supported by
substantial evidence in the record." Neither party discusses the
weight, presence or absence, or interpretation of any of the
medical evidence present in the record.
Pearce's appeal arises from the provisions of the Act which
allow an ALJ to deny benefits to a claimant, who is unwilling to
cooperate in a consultative examination to which he is sent by
the Secretary. ...