During this interval, her sister filed a disability claim for her with the Social Security Administration, which was rejected, according to the sister, because the claimant did not have enough quarters of coverage.4The claimant enjoyed a period of remission from 1970 to 1973 when she was able to obtain limited employment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but thereafter her disease was again disabling.
We said in an early case that the evaluation of disability by the Veterans Administration was critically relevant and material in a parallel Social Security case. In any event, it is clear that in 1968 the claimant was entitled to disability payments.22The Secretary has not ruled upon the application for reopening since the necessity for that decision was foreclosed by the ALJ's determination of nondisability.
Moreover, her employment after the cut-off date does not foreclose an award of benefits since disability "turns on whether she was disabled within the meaning of the Act notwithstanding the fact that she actually did work." Stark v. 1974).114We find it particularly puzzling that the ALJ ignored the findings on disability reached by the state agency to which the Secretary had referred the matter. These affidavits state that the claim was denied because of lack of quarters.
That expert body made a determination of disability on less evidence than was submitted to the ALJ. There is also in the file a letter from an official of the Social Security Administration saying that20"the decision on the prior claim mentioned became final upon expiration of the appeal period, and the records were sent to the Federal Records Center for storage.
In fact, it is not supported by any medical opinion in this case. The ALJ commented, "it is axiomatic that physicians take care of their own." The thrust of this remark is somewhat obscure because the record indicates the employers did take care of claimant by retaining her for a longer period than that which could be justified by her failing health. Plaintiff argues it is unconscionable for the Administration to take a position that in effect permits it to profit by its own errors and we are inclined to agree. She produced her Social Security card with the word "denied" stamped upon it, and contended that it is Administration practice to stamp a card in this fashion when a claim is denied for lack of coverage.
To that extent, the "axiom" tends to support Miss Fowler's claim that she continued to work even though physically incapable of performing the tasks demanded of her. The Social Security Act is to be interpreted liberally to effectuate its beneficent purposes. She submitted the affidavits of her sister and brother-in-law which asserted that a claim was filed on Miss Fowler's behalf in 1968 at a time when she was unable to supply necessary information to her sister.
The Secretary, however, disallowed the payment of any benefit because the 1974 claim had been filed more than twelve months after the first period of disability had ceased in 1970. The Appeals Council affirmed and the district court ruled there was substantial evidence supporting the Secretary's decision.6The claimant's description of her difficulties in the 1965-1966 period is convincing.