United States District Court, D. Oregon
R.J. Porter JP Law PC, Attorney for Plaintiff
J. Williams United States Attorney
E. Hebert Assistant United States Attorney
Moum Social Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION & ORDER
A HERNÁNDEZ, United States District Judge
Heather Fonseca brings this action for judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision denying her application for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title
XVI of the Social Security Act. The Court has jurisdiction
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (incorporated by 42 U.S.C.
§ 1382(c)(3)). The Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's
was born in 1971 and was forty-three years old at the time of
her administrative hearing. Tr. 31, 159. She has a high
school education and past relevant work experience as a
housekeeper and office clerk. Tr. 29-30. She applied for SSI
on August 7, 2014, alleging her disability onset date as June
1, 2011. Tr. 159-64. Her application was initially denied on
October 29, 2014, and again on reconsideration on January 2,
2015. Tr. 69, 85. Plaintiff requested an administrative
hearing which was held on June 30, 2015, before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Marilyn Mauer.
Tr. 39. On October 8, 2015, ALJ Mauer issued a written
opinion denying Plaintiff's application. Tr. 18-32. The
Appeals Counsel denied Plaintiff's request for review,
making the ALJ's opinion the Commissioner's final
decision that Plaintiff now challenges in this Court. Tr.
claimant is disabled if 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). Disability claims are evaluated according to a
five-step procedure. Valentine v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009). 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). At 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 the claimant'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. At 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 its burden and proves ...