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Dale v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Oregon

May 13, 2014

SARAH E. DALE, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

Merrill Schneider, SCHNEIDER KERR LAW OFFICES, Portland, OR Attorney for Plaintiff

Adrian L. Brown, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Portland, OR

Lisa Goldoftas, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Seattle, WA Attorneys for Defendant

OPINION & ORDER

MARCO A. HERNNDEZ, District Judge.

Sarah E. Dale brings this action pursuant to the Social Security Act (the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner"). The Commissioner found Plaintiff not disabled and denied her application for Supplemental Security Income benefits ("SSIB"). For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff has a high school education, was 24 years old at the time she applied for SSIB on November 25, 2009, and alleges disability beginning on January 1, 2007. Tr. 21, 31. Plaintiff's claims were denied on July 6, 2010, and upon reconsideration on December 3, 2010. Id . A hearing was held on April 17, 2012, before Administrative Law Judge Paul Robeck (the "ALJ"). Id . On June 11, 2012, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 32. Plaintiff requested a review of the ALJ's decision, but the Appeals Council issued an order denying Plaintiff's request for review, thus making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. Tr. 1, 16. This appeal followed.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The parties are familiar with the medical evidence and other evidence in the record. Therefore, the evidence will not be repeated except as necessary to explain my decision.

SEQUENTIAL DISABILITY EVALUATION

A claimant is disabled if he is unable to "engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which... has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). Disability claims are evaluated according to a five-step procedure. See Valentine v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin. , 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009). The claimant bears the ultimate burden of proving disability. Id.

At Step One, the Commissioner determines whether a claimant is engaged in "substantial gainful activity." If so, the claimant is not disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert , 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b), 416.920(b). At Step Two, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant has a "medically severe impairment or combination of impairments." Yuckert , 482 U.S. at 140-41; see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c). If not, the claimant is not disabled.

At Step Three, the Commissioner determines whether the impairment meets or equals "one of a number of listed impairments that the [Commissioner] acknowledges are so severe as to preclude substantial gainful activity." Yuckert , 482 U.S. at 141; see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 416.920(d). If so, the claimant is conclusively presumed disabled; if not, the Commissioner proceeds to step four. Yuckert , 482 U.S. at 141.

At Step Four, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant, despite any impairments, has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform "past relevant work." 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e). If so, the claimant is not disabled. If the claimant cannot perform past relevant work, the burden shifts to the Commissioner.

At Step Five, the Commissioner must establish that the claimant can perform other work. Yuckert , 482 U.S. at 141-42; see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e) & (f), 416.920(e) & (f). If the Commissioner meets his burden and proves that the claimant is able to perform other work which exists in the ...


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