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JONES v. SULLIVAN

July 31, 1992

JIMMIE L. JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUIS W. SULLIVAN, M.D., SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant.


HOLDERMAN


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES F. HOLDERMAN

JAMES F. HOLDERMAN, District Judge:

 Plaintiff Jimmie L. Jones filed this action against defendant Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human Services, challenging the denial of his application for Social Security Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") disability benefits. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, the Secretary's denial of plaintiff's application is affirmed.

 FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Jones applied for SSI on January 8, 1990, claiming a disability due to alcoholism, drug addiction, hypertension, diabetes and back pain. (Record, pp. 60-63.) *fn1" His claim was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (PP. 73-76, 88-90.) A hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Patricia Dreyer Kelley on October 17, 1990. (PP. 23-59.) The ALJ issued an opinion denying benefits on December 20, 1990. (PP. 8-14.)

 The ALJ denied benefits under 20 C.F.R. ยง 416.920(b), on the basis that claimant was currently engaged in "substantial gainful activity" and therefore was not disabled under the statute. (P. 12.) This conclusion was based on evidence that plaintiff engaged in illegal activity to acquire funds to finance his consumption of drugs and alcohol. The ALJ found Mr. Jones' illegal endeavors to be substantial gainful activity within the meaning of Social Security regulations.

 The following testimony, given by the plaintiff under questioning from the ALJ, formed the evidentiary basis for the ALJ's decision:

 
Q. Do you do any other kind of street drugs besides alcohol?
 
A. I do heroin and cocaine.
 
Q. How much does this cost you per day to do heroin, cocaine and alcohol?
 
A. Right about $ 60.00 a day.
 
Q. And where do you get $ 60.00 a day?
 
A. I steal it, cars, somebody at a bar.
 
Q. Where do you steal it? Do you steal cars? Do you break into people's houses? Do you ...

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