United States District Court, D. Oregon
JORDAN M. BARNETT, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
Merrill Schneider Schneider Kerr Law Offices Attorney for
J. Williams, Acting U.S. Attorney Janice Hebert, Asst. U.S.
Elizabeth Moum Special Asst. U.S. Attorney Office of the
General Counsel Social Security Administration Attorneys for
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
Jelderks U.S. Magistrate Judge
Jordon Barnett brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §405(g) seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the
Commissioner) denying his application for Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) under the Social Security Act (the
Act). Plaintiff seeks an Order remanding the action to the
Social Security Administration (the Agency) for an award of
benefits or, in the alternative, remanding for further
reasons set out below, the Commissioner's decision should
be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
protectively filed an application for SSI on May 10, 2011,
alleging he had been disabled since June 23, 1990.
his claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration,
Plaintiff timely requested an administrative hearing.
30, 2013, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ) Glenn Meyers. Plaintiff and Richard Hincks, a
Vocational Expert (VE), testified at the hearing. Plaintiff
was represented by counsel.
decision dated, August 12, 2013, ALJ Meyers found that
Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
April 2, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review, rendering the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. In the present action,
Plaintiff challenges that decision.
was born in 1990 and was 23 years old at the time of the
ALJ's decision. Tr. 210. He attended special education
classes in school and graduated from high school. Tr. 225. He
has no past relevant work. Tr. 23.
engages in a five-step sequential inquiry to determine
whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Act.
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. Below is a summary
of the five steps, which also are described in Tackett v.
Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99 (9th Cir.
One. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant is
engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A claimant
engaged in such activity is not disabled. If the claimant is
not engaged in substantial gainful activity, the Commissioner
proceeds to evaluate the claimant's case under Step Two.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(b).
Two. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
has one or more severe impairments. A claimant who does not
have such an impairment is not disabled. If the claimant has
a severe impairment, the Commissioner proceeds to evaluate
the claimant's case under Step Three. 20 C.F.R. §
Three. Disability cannot be based solely on a severe
impairment; therefore, the Commissioner next determines
whether the claimant's impairment “meets or
equals” one of the presumptively disabling impairments
listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA)
regulations, 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. A
claimant who has such an impairment is disabled. If the
claimant's impairment does not meet or equal an
impairment listed in the regulations, the Commissioner's
evaluation of the claimant's case proceeds under Step
Four. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d).
Four. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
is able to perform relevant work he or she has done in the
past. A claimant who can perform past relevant work is not
disabled. If the claimant demonstrates he or she cannot do
work performed in the past, the Commissioner's evaluation
of the claimant's case proceeds under Step Five. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(f).
Five. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
is able to do any other work. A claimant who cannot perform
other work is disabled. If the Commissioner finds that the
claimant is able to do other work, the Commissioner must show
that a significant number of jobs exist in the national
economy that the claimant can do. The Commissioner may
satisfy this burden through the testimony of a vocational
expert (VE) or by reference to the Medical-Vocational
Guidelines, 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2. If the
Commissioner demonstrates that a significant number of jobs
exist in the national economy that the claimant can do, the
claimant is not disabled. If the Commissioner does not meet
this burden, the claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
Steps One through Four, the burden of proof is on the
claimant. Tackett, 180 F.3d at 1098. At Step Five,
the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the
claimant can perform jobs that exist in significant numbers
in the national economy. Id.
first step of his disability analysis, the ALJ found that
although Plaintiff had worked after the application date, his
work activity had not risen to the level of substantial
second step, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the severe
impairment of low intellectual functioning. Tr. 18.
third step, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled
a presumptively disabling impairment set out in ...