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Swan v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 23, 2017

AMY SWAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1]Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          MERRILL SCHNEIDER Schneider Kerr & Robichaux Attorneys for Plaintiff

          BILLY J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney JANICE E. HEBERT Assistant United States Attorney

          DAVID MORADO Regional Chief Counsel LEISA A. WOLF Special Assistant United States Attorney Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Amy Swan seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which she denied Plaintiff's application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         For the reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES this matter.

         ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

         Plaintiff protectively filed her application for SSI benefits on May 22, 2012. Tr. 19.[2] Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date of August 1, 2005. Tr. 19. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on May 19, 2014. Tr. 34-61. Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at the hearing.

         On June 24, 2014, the ALJ issued an opinion in which she found Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 19-29. On August 1, 2014, Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council. Tr. 14. On October 29, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request to review the ALJ's decision, and the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. Tr. 1-3. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).

         On December 30, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court seeking review of the Commissioner's decision.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born on May 10, 1966. Tr. 27. Plaintiff was 48 years old at the time of the hearing. Plaintiff dropped out of high school after the 11th grade and has not completed her GED. Tr. 28. The ALJ found Plaintiff does not have any past relevant work experience. Tr. 27.

         Plaintiff alleges disability due to back injury, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rapid depression, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Tr. 64-65.

         Except as noted, Plaintiff does not challenge the ALJ's summary of the medical evidence. After carefully reviewing the medical records, this Court adopts the ALJ's summary of the medical evidence. See Tr. 21-23.

         STANDARDS

         The initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish disability. Molina v. Astrue,674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012). To meet this burden, a claimant must demonstrate her inability "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. ยง 423(d)(1)(A). The ALJ must develop the record when there is ambiguous evidence or when the record is inadequate to allow for proper ...


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