United States District Court, D. Oregon
BRUCE W. BREWER West Linn, Oregon, Attorney for Plaintiff.
S. AMANDA MARSHALL United States Attorney ADRIAN L. BROWN Assistant United States Attorney Portland, Oregon.
LISA GOLDOFTAS Office of the General Counsel Social Security Administration Seattle, Washington, Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
MARSH F. MARSH, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Amy Ward, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the Commissioner) denying her applications for disability insurance benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act (the Act) and supplemental security income (SSI) disability benefits under Title XVI of the Act. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434, 1381-1383f. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the reasons set forth below, I affirm the final decision of the Commissioner.
Plaintiff protectively filed the applications for DIB and SSI on November 5, 2009, alleging disability due to bipolar disorder, anxiety, "violent behavior disorder, " post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), personality disorder, migraines, stroke, and memory loss. Tr. 182. Her applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. A hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on November 3, 2011, at which Plaintiff was represented by counsel and testified. Vocational Expert (VE) Robert Gaffney was also present throughout the hearing and testified.
On January 27, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff.not disabled within the meaning of the Act. After the Appeals Council declined review of the ALJ's decision, Plaintiff timely filed a complaint in this Court.
Born on November 29, 1974, Plaintiff was 27 years old on the alleged onset date of disability and 36 years old on the date of the hearing. Plaintiff reported completing most or all of her high school coursework, but did not receive a diploma, and has past relevant work as a Cashier, Commercial Cleaner, and Sales Clerk. Tr. 21, 178.
Plaintiff alleges her conditions became disabling on August 16, 2002. Tr. 178. Plaintiff testified about her limitations at the hearing. Tr. 38-59. Elaine Greif, Ph.D., conducted a Neuropsychological Screening and submitted a Medical' Source Statement of Ability to do Work-Related Activities. Tr. 729-39.
THE ALJ'S DISABILITY ANALYSIS
The Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert , 482 U.S. 137, 140-42 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a) (4) (i)-(v), 416. 920 (a)(4) (i)-(v). Each step is potentially dispositive. The claimant bears the burden of proof at Steps One through Four. Tackett v. Apfel , 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999). The burden shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five to show that a significant number of jobs exist in the national economy that the claimant can perform. See Yuckert , 482 U.S. at 141-42; Tackett , 180 F.3d at 1098.
At Step One, the ALJ determined Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date, August 16, 2002. See 20 C.F.R. §§ ...