United States District Court, D. Oregon
V. Reeder Glenn, Reeder, Gassner & Carl, LLP Attorney for
J. Williams Janice E. Hebert, Thomas M. Elsberry Social
Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION & ORDER
A. HERNÁNDEZ United States District Judge
Jason Green brings this action for judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision denying his application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II 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)). Because the Commissioner's decision
was supported by substantial evidence and free of legal
error, it is affirmed.
was born on June 1, 1972, and was forty years old at his
alleged disability onset date. Tr. 21. Plaintiff has a
high school education. Id. He has past relevant work
as a grounds keeper, commercial/industrial cleaner, and
lubrication servicer. Id. Plaintiff filed his
application for DIB on September 6, 2012, alleging an onset
date of August 1, 2012. Tr. 13. His application was initially
denied on December 21, 2012, and upon reconsideration on
April 15, 2013. Id. A hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) John Michaelsen
on July 9, 2014. Tr. 29. ALJ Michaelsen issued a written
opinion denying Plaintiff's application on September 17,
2014. Tr. 13-23. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review, making the ALJ's opinion the
Commissioner's final decision that Plaintiff now
challenges in this court. Tr. 1-7.
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 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 that the claimant is
able to perform other work which exists in the national
economy, the claimant is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status
requirement through June 30, 2017, and had not engaged in SGA
since the alleged onset date. Tr. 15.
two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder.
Tr. 16. The ALJ considered other alleged conditions,
including an injury to Plaintiff's right wrist, and
concluded that they were non-severe. Id.
Three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled
the severity of one of the listed impairments. Id.
formulated the following RFC, finding that Plaintiff could
perform a “full range of work at all exertional levels
and the [RFC] to perform simple, repetitive, routine tasks
requiring no more than occasional interaction with
supervisors, no contact with the ...