United States District Court, D. Oregon
Douglas Jones, pro se.
J. Williams United States Attorney Janice E. Herbert
Assistant United States Attorney, Jordan D. Goddard Special
Assistant United States Attorney, Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
JELDERKS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Douglas Jones (plaintiff) seeks judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (the Commissioner) denying his application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the
Social Security Act. Because the Commissioner's decision
is supported by substantial evidence, the decision is
protectively filed an application for DIB on May 17, 2012,
alleging disability as of October 31, 2010 due to arthritis,
numbness in his foot and ankle, depression, poor mood, gout,
and pre-diabetes. Tr. 11, 146-56, 219. His application was
denied initially and on reconsideration, and he requested a
hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Tr. 78-87,
88-101. On April 22, 2014, a hearing was held before ALJ John
Michaelsen. Tr. 29-76. At the hearing, plaintiff amended his
alleged onset date to April 20, 2012. Tr. 11, 34.
12, 2014, ALJ Michaelsen issued a decision finding plaintiff
not disabled. Tr. 11-28. The Appeals Council denied
plaintiffs request for review, and the ALJ's decision
became the final order of the Commissioner. Tr. 1-6. This
May, 1960, plaintiff was 51 years old on his amended alleged
onset date. Tr. 148. He speaks English and completed the
tenth grade. Tr. 60. He has past work experience as a cook
and as a kitchen manager. Tr. 65, 226-27. Plaintiff is a
veteran of the United States Army, having served from May
1978 to May 1979 as a supply clerk. Tr. 226, 506.
claimant is disabled if he or she 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). "Social Security Regulations set out a
five-step sequential process for determining whether an
applicant is disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act." Keyserv. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin, 648 F.3d 721, 724 (9th Cir. 2011); see also 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520; Bowen v. Yuckeit 482 U.S.
137, 140 (1987). Each step is potentially dispositive. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4); 416.920(a)(4). The
five-step sequential process asks the following series of
1. Is the claimant performing "substantial gainful
activity?" 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i). This
activity is work involving significant mental or physical
duties done or intended to be done for pay or profit. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1510. If the claimant is performing such
work, she is not disabled within the meaning of the Act. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i). If the claimant is not
performing substantial gainful activity, the analysis
proceeds to step two.
2. Is the claimant's impairment "severe" under
the Commissioner's regulations? 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(ii). Unless expected to result in death, an
impairment is "severe" if it significantly limits
the claimant's physical or mental ability to do basic
work activities. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1521(a). This
impairment must have lasted or must be expected to last for a
continuous period of at least 12 months. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1509. If the claimant does not have a severe impairment,
the analysis ends. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(ii). If
the claimant has a severe impairment, the analysis proceeds
to step three.
3. Does the claimant's severe impairment "meet or
equal" one or more of the impairments listed in 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1? If so, then the
claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iii).
If the impairment does not meet or equal one or more of the
listed impairments, the analysis proceeds beyond step three.
At that point, the ALJ must evaluate medical and other
relevant evidence to assess and determine the claimant's
"residual functional capacity" ("RFC").
This is an assessment of work-related activities that the
claimant may still perform on a regular and continuing basis,
despite any limitations imposed by his or her impairments. ...