United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER
JANICE M. STEWART, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Teresa Glosenger ("Glosenger"), seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. This court has jurisdiction under 42 USC § 405(g) and § 1383(c). All parties have consented to allow a Magistrate Judge to enter final orders and judgment in this case in accordance with FRCP 73 and 28 USC § 636(c) (docket # 25). Because the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence, it is affirmed.
Glosenger filed applications for SSI and DIB in August 2009, alleging disability as of January 1, 2007, due to generalized anxiety disorder, dysthymic disorder, and a cognitive disorder. Tr. 145-53, 177. After the Commissioner denied her applications initially and upon reconsideration (Tr. 80-93), Glosenger requested a hearing which was held on April 7, 2011. Tr. 47-71. On April 15, 2011, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Cynthia Rosa issued a decision finding Glosenger not disabled. Tr. 27-41. The Appeals Council denied Glosenger's subsequent request for review on August 2, 2012 (Tr. 1-3), making the ALJ's decision the final Agency decision. Glosenger now seeks judicial review of that decision.
Glosenger was 45 years old at the time of the alleged onset date. Tr. 39, 172. She completed high school in 1979 and has past relevant work as a security guard. Tr. 178, 183. Glosenger alleges that she stopped working on January 1, 2007, due to generalized anxiety disorder, dysthymic disorder, cognitive disorder, anxiety in employment situations, lack of selfesteem and confidence, preoccupation with rejection, and difficulty concentrating and making routine decisions. Tr. 177.
Disability is the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 USC § 423(d)(1)(A). The ALJ engages in a five-step sequential inquiry to determine whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Act. 20 CFR §§ 404.1520, 416.920; Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99 (9th Cir 1999).
At step one, the ALJ determines if the claimant is performing substantial gainful activity. If so, the claimant is not disabled. 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i) & (b), 416.920(a)(4)(i) & (b).
At step two, the ALJ determines if the claimant has "a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment" that meets the 12-month durational requirement. 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii) & (c), 416.909, 416.920(a)(4)(ii) & (c). Absent a severe impairment, the claimant is not disabled. Id.
At step three, the ALJ determines whether the severe impairment meets or equals an impairment "listed" in the regulations. 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iii) & (d), 416.920(a)(4)(iii) & (d); 20 CFR Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1 (Listing of Impairments). If the impairment is determined to meet or equal a listed impairment, then the claimant is disabled.
If adjudication proceeds beyond step three, the ALJ must evaluate medical and other relevant evidence in assessing the claimant's residual functional capacity ("RFC"). The claimant's RFC is an assessment of work-related activities the claimant may still perform on a regular and continuing basis, despite the limitations imposed by his or her impairments. 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e); Social Security Ruling ("SSR") 96-8p, 1996 WL 374184 (July 2, 1996).
At step four, the ALJ uses the RFC to determine if the claimant can perform past relevant work. 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iv) & (e), 416.920(a)(4)(iv) & (e). If the claimant cannot perform past relevant work, then at step five, the ALJ must determine if the claimant can perform other work in the national economy. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 142 (1987); Tackett, 180 F.3d at 1099; 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v) & (g), 416.920(a)(4)(v) & (g).
The initial burden of establishing disability rests upon the claimant. Tackett, 180 F.3d at 1098. If the process reaches step five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that jobs exist in the national economy within the claimant's RFC. Id. If the Commissioner meets this burden, then the claimant is ...