United States District Court, D. Oregon
J. Wall Attorney for Plaintiff
J. Williams Janice E. Hebert Erin F. Highland Attorneys for
OPINION & ORDER
A. Hernandez United States District Judge
Florence Thomas brings this action seeking judicial review of
the Commissioner's final decision to deny disability
insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income
(SSI). This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) (incorporated by 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3)).
I affirm the Commissioner's decision.
applied for DIB and SSI on December 5, 2011, alleging an
onset date of June 15, 2006. Tr. 220-29. Her applications
were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 61, 63-73
(DIB, initial); Tr. 62, 74-84, 122-25 (SSI, initial); Tr. 85,
87-100, 129-33 (DIB, reconsideration); Tr. 86, 101-14, 134-39
(SSI, reconsideration). On December 12, 2013, Plaintiff
appeared, with counsel, for a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Tr. 37-58. On January 9,
2014, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 16-36. The
Appeals Council denied review. Tr. 5-9.
alleges disability based on having fibromyalgia, arthritis,
and bilateral neuropathy. Tr. 280. At the time of the
hearing, she was fifty-three years old. Tr. 41. She completed
two years of college and one year of vocational school.
Id. She has past relevant work experience as a
pharmacy technician, fast food supervisor/assistant manager,
cashier checker, sales clerk, and nursing assistant. Tr. 54.
claimant is disabled if 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. §§
claims are evaluated according to a five-step procedure.
See Valentine v. Comm'r, 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th
Cir. 2009) (in social security cases, agency uses five-step
procedure to determine disability). The claimant bears the
ultimate burden of proving disability. Id.
first step, 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). In step two, the Commissioner determines whether
the claimant has a "medically severe impairment or
combination of impairments." Yuckert, 482 U.S.
at 140-41; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c). If
not, the claimant is not disabled.
three, the Commissioner determines whether plaintiff's
impairments, singly or in combination, meet or equal
"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; 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.
four, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant,
despite any impairment(s), has the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform "past relevant work." 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e). If the claimant
can, the claimant is not disabled. If the claimant cannot
perform past relevant work, the burden shifts to the
Commissioner. In step five, the Commissioner must establish
that the claimant can perform other work. Yuckert,
482 U.S. at 141-42; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e) &
(f), 416.920(e) & (f). If the Commissioner meets his
burden and proves that the ...