United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
M. COFFIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brings this action pursuant to the Social Security Act (the
Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), to obtain judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (Commissioner). The Commissioner denied plaintiffs
application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under the Act.
was fifty-five years old at the time of the ALJ's
decision. Tr. 103, 115, 239, 246. Plaintiff speaks English,
completed one year of college, and has a certificate in
drafting from Umpqua Community College. Tr. 265, 267. He
worked as a CAD drafter and construction laborer. Tr. 267,
274-86. Plaintiff alleges disability as of January 27, 2011
due to a herniated disc, back injury, torn tendons in both
shoulders, right hand broken twice, left hand surgery, h
pylori/diverticulitis infections w/nausea, defective ureter,
severe knee pain, and depression. Tr. 103, 115, 239, 246,
evaluated plaintiffs allegation of disability pursuant to the
relevant five-step sequential process. Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920. At step one, the ALJ found
that plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date, January 27, 2011. Tr.
two, the ALJ found that plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: history of widespread chronic pain, depressive
disorder, alcohol abuse in remission, and anxiety disorder.
Tr. 24-25; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c).
The ALJ found plaintiffs physical impairments of lumbar
degenerative disc disease, gastritis, hypertension,
intermittent scrotal pain, and status post heart
attack/stenting were non-severe. Tr. 25.
three, the ALJ found that plaintiffs medically severe
impairments did not meet or equal one of a number of listed
impairments that the Commissioner acknowledges are so severe
as to preclude gainful activity. Tr. 25-27; 20 The ALJ found
that plaintiff has the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonexertional limitations: He can perform
unskilled, repetitive, routine work; will be off-task at work
9% of the time, but still meets the minimum production
requirements; will be absent from work 1 time per month; can
have occasional contact with the public, supervisors and
four, the ALJ found that plaintiff was unable to perform any
past relevant work. Tr. 31. At step five, based on plaintiffs
assessed RFC and the testimony of the VE, the ALJ found there
were jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national
economy that plaintiff could perform. Tr. 31. Those jobs
included industrial cleaner, DOT code 381.687-018, and motel
cleaner, DOT code 323.687-014. Tr. 32. Based on plaintiffs
ability to perform other work in the national economy, the
ALJ found plaintiff not disabled under the meaning of the
Act. Tr. 32.
asserts that the Commissioner's decision should be
vacated and remanded for an immediate award of disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income, or in
the alternative, the action should be remanded for further
administrative proceedings. Among other arguments, plaintiff
contends the ALJ erred by failing to find his coronary artery
disease, angina, and ureteral stricture were severe
impairments at step two.
Impairments at Step Two
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that he has a
severe impairment at step two by providing medical evidence.
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1512 and 416.912. An impairment or
combination of impairments is "not severe only
if the evidence establishes a slight abnormality that has no
more than a minimal effect on an individual's ability to
work." Webb v. Barnhart 433 F.3d 683, 686
(9th Cir. 2005) (emphasis in original). Where an
ALJ fails to identify a severe impairment at step two, but
nonetheless considers at subsequent steps all of the
plaintiffs impairments, including the erroneously omitted
severe impairment, the error at step two is harmless. See,
Lewis v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 909, 911 (9th