United States District Court, D. Oregon
S. Ziskin Ziskin Attorney for Plaintiff
J. Williams, U.S. Attorney Janice Hebert, Asst. U.S.
Attorney, Sarah Elizabeth Moum Special Asst. U.S. Attorney
Office of the General Counsel Attorneys for Defendants
OPINION AND ORDER
Jelderks U.S. Magistrate Judge
Sharon Murphy 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).
reasons set out below, the Commissioner's decision is
reversed and this action is remanded for further proceedings.
protectively filed an application for a period of disability
and disability benefits on March 8, 2012, alleging she had
been disabled since December 22, 2009.
her claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration,
Plaintiff timely requested an administrative hearing.
November 19, 2013, a video hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Janice Shave. Plaintiff and
Jacklyn A. Benson-Dehaan, a vocational expert (VE), testified
at the hearing. Plaintiff was represented by counsel. At the
hearing Plaintiff amended her alleged onset date to June 30,
2010, which corresponds to her sobriety date. Tr. 34, 75.
decision dated December 4, 2013, ALJ Shave found that
Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
March 6, 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 1959 and was 54 years old at the time of the
graduated from high school and completed three years of
college. Tr. 214. She has past relevant work as a customer
service representative. Tr. 41, 76.
ALJ 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 ...