United States District Court, D. Oregon
Merrill Schneider Schneider Kerr & Robichaux Attorney for
J. Williams, U.S. Attorney Janice Hebert, Asst. U.S. Attorney
Lorna Li Special Asst. U.S. Attorney Office of the General
Counsel Social Security Administration Attorneys for
OPINION AND ORDER
Jelderks U.S. Magistrate Judge
Cheri Squier 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 her application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(DIB) 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. The
Commissioner concedes reversible error and moves the Court to
remand for additional administrative proceedings.
reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's decision is
reversed and the motion for remand for additional proceedings
filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on
January 30, 2012, alleging she had been disabled since July
her claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration,
Plaintiff timely requested an administrative hearing.
January 10, 2014, a video hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) John Michaelsen. Plaintiff and
Kathleen O'Gieblyn, a vocational expert (VE), testified
at the hearing. Plaintiff was represented by counsel.
decision dated February 14, 2014, ALJ Michaelsen found that
Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
11, 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 1969 and was 44 years old at the time of the
ALJ's decision. Plaintiff completed the 11th
grade and has past relevant work as a medical records clerk,
office clerk, managed care coordinator, managed care clerk
and office specialist clerk.
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)
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.
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 ...