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Woll v. Commissioner Social Security Administration

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 4, 2015

RYAN JACOB WOLL, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant

For Plaintiff: SARA L. GABIN, Lake Oswego, OR.

For Defendant: S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney, District of Oregon, ADRIAN L. BROWN, RONALD K. SILVER, Assistant United States Attorneys, Portland, OR; NANCY A. MISHALANIE, Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Seattle, WA.

OPINION AND ORDER

Malcolm F. Marsh, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Ryan Jacob Woll seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his application for disability insurance benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § § 401-403, and application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § § 1381-1383f. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § § 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). For the reasons that follow, I reverse and remand for an immediate calculation and payment of benefits.

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff protectively filed applications for DIB and SSI on March 8, 2010, alleging disability beginning April 14, 2008, due to an organic mental disorder, characterized by Borderline Intellectual Functioning and a learning disability, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome (CMT)(a foot disorder). Plaintiff's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ held a hearing on July 24, 2012, at which plaintiff appeared with his attorney and testified. A vocational expert, Gary R. Jesky, also appeared at the July 24, 2012 hearing and testified. On September 20, 2012, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, and therefore, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of review.

Born in 1980, plaintiff was 27 years old on the date of his alleged onset of disability. Plaintiff completed school through grade twelve, but received a limited diploma. Plaintiff has past relevant work as a courtesy clerk in a grocery store.

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, 107 S.Ct. 2287, 96 L.Ed.2d 119 (1987); 20 C.F.R. § § 404.1520; 416.920. Each step is potentially dispositive. The claimant bears the burden of proof at steps one through four. See Valentine v. Commissioner Soc. Sec. Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009); Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999]. At step five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the claimant can do other work which exists in the national economy. Hill v. Astrue, 698 F.3d 1153, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012).

The ALJ concluded that plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2012. A claimant seeking DIB benefits under Title II must establish disability on or prior to the last date insured. 42 U.S.C. § 416(i)(3); Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005).

At step one, the ALJ found that plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset of disability. At step two, the ALJ found that plaintiff's borderline intellectual functioning/learning disorder and adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and mood are severe impairments; and his CMT syndrome non-severe. At step three, the ALJ found that plaintiff's impairments, or combination of impairments, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment.

The ALJ assessed plaintiff with a residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform medium work, except for the limitation to only simple, routine work.

At step four, the ALJ found plaintiff is able to perform his past relevant work as a courtesy clerk. Alternatively, the ALJ also concluded that considering plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform, such as assembly work and janitorial work. Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff has not ...


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