United States District Court, D. Oregon
Merrill Schneider Schneider Kerr & Robichaux Attorney for
E. Hebert Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn A. Miller
Social Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION & ORDER
A. HERNÁNDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Nicholson brings this action on behalf of Plaintiff K.N. 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. This Court has jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) (incorporated by 42 U.S.C. § 1382(c)(3)). The
Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
application for SSI was protectively filed on behalf of
Plaintiff, a child under 18, on December 18, 2012, alleging
disability as of August 31, 2010. Tr. 82. Her application
was denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 106, 113. On
May 24, 2015, Plaintiff and her parents appeared with counsel
for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Tr.
35. On April 29, 2015, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled.
Tr. 34. The Appeals Council denied review. Tr. 1.
alleges disability based on a learning disability, mental
health issues, and a broken collarbone. Tr. 179. She was 14
at the time of the administrative hearing. Tr. 40.
individual under the age of 18 is disabled if he has a
“medically determinable physical or mental impairment,
which results in marked and severe functional limitations,
and which can be expected to result in death or which has
lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of
not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i).
The Social Security Administration has established a
three-step sequential evaluation process for evaluating the
disability claims of minors. 20 C.F.R. § 416.924. The
claimant bears the ultimate burden of proving disability.
Valentine v. Comm'r, 574 F.3d 685, 689
(9th Cir. 2009).
first step, the Commissioner determines whether a claimant is
engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” If so,
the claimant is not disabled. Id. at §
416.924(a). At step two, the Commissioner determines whether
the claimant has a medically determinable physical or mental
impairment or a combination of impairments that is severe.
Id. If the claimant does not have any severe
impairment or combination of impairments, the claimant is not
three, the Commissioner determines whether the impairment
“meets, medically equals, or functionally equals the
listings.” Id. If the impairment meets or
medically equals a listing and is expected to last 12 months,
the claimant is presumed disabled. Id. If not, the
Commissioner looks to six different domains to determine
whether a minor's impairment results in limitations that
functionally equal the listings: (i) acquiring and using
information; (ii) attending and completing tasks; (iii)
interacting and relating with others; (iv) moving about and
manipulating objects; (v) caring for oneself; and (vi) health
and physical well-being. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(b)(1). In
order to be found disabled, the claimant's impairments
must result in “marked” limitations in two
domains of functioning or an “extreme” limitation
in at least one domain. Id. at 416.926a(d). In
assessing whether the claimant has marked or extreme
limitations, the Commissioner must consider the functional
limitations from all medically determinable impairments,
including any impairments that are not severe, as well as the
interactive and cumulative effects of the claimant's
impairments in any affected domain. Id. at
one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the date of her
application. Tr. 20. Next, at step two, the ALJ determined
that Plaintiff has the following severe impairment:
depressive disorder. Tr. 20. At step three, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically
equal the severity of a listed impairment. Tr. 21. The ALJ
also found that Plaintiff's impairments did not
functionally equal the severity of the listings. Tr. 22.
Specifically, he found that Plaintiff had less than marked or