claimant made no deliveries for other merchants, and that the car washing job was a monthly affair for which claimant received $ 2.00.
When the case reached the Appeals Council for review, the record was supplemented by additional evidence, which has been commented upon elsewhere in this opinion. The Appeals Council adopted and affirmed the decision of the Hearing Examiner, and concluded from the record before it that the training received by claimant at OCEC had enabled him to learn how to work and to make any personal adjustment needed for competitive employment; that claimant 'has demonstrated an ability to perform bench work, such as light assembly work'; and that, as reported, claimant 'has a capacity for cafeteria and packaging work'.
A claimant for disability benefits is obliged to furnish proof of the existence of the required conditions for eligibility. Here, it was necessary for claimant to establish a condition of disability prior to the date he attained the age of 18 years. As noted, benefits were denied to claimant because the Appeals Council found that the evidence did not 'establish the existence of an impairment of sufficient severity as to continuously prevent claimant's engagement in any substantial gainful activity from a date prior to the attainment of age 18'. If this finding is supported by substantial evidence, it is conclusive. The Court's function is to determine whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the finding made by the Secretary. See 42 U.S.C.A. § 405(g).
In this Circuit, the law is clear that in a case of this kind, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare must determine what employment opportunities are available to a claimant, in the light of his physical and mental condition and educational and vocational background. There should be a finding that reasonable opportunities exist for a particular claimant to engage in substantial gainful employment. A mere theoretical ability to do so is not enough if no reasonable opportunity for such employment is available. Hodgson v. Celebrezze, 312 F.2d 260 (3 Cir., 1963); Farley v. Celebrezze, 315 F.2d 704 (3 Cir., 1963); Braun v. Ribicoff, 292 F.2d 354 (3 Cir., 1961); Klimaszewski v. Flemming, 176 F.Supp. 927 (E.D.Pa.1959).
Nowhere in this record are there findings with respect to the employment opportunities open to the claimant, a 22 year old mentally retarded youth, with a mental age of 13 years 7 months. True, the Secretary found claimant 'has demonstrated an ability to perform bench work, such as light assembly work, and * * * cafeteria and packaging work'. But this finding is based on work done in a 'sheltered' environment. Moreover, it does not answer the question as to whether employers in competitive industry would hire claimant to do such work. Assuming claimant is physically and mentally able to perform the several jobs suggested in the record, where is he to find such employment? No effort has been made by the Secretary to show that jobs, such as those suggested, are open to someone like claimant, with his physical and mental limitations and his educational and vocational history. At the very least, the Secretary should investigate the reasonable possibility of claimant obtaining such employment, and to demonstrate more than just a 'mere theoretical ability' on claimant's part to engage in substantial gainful activity.
For the reasons herein stated, both motions for summary judgment will be denied, and the case will be remanded to the Secretary with directions to take such further evidence as may be necessary to determine the issue of claimant's employment opportunities and to make additional findings with respect thereto.
Counsel for plaintiff will submit order on notice.