United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Aiken, United States District Judge.
Deborah Farmer brings this action pursuant to the Social
Security Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and
§ 1383(c)(3), to obtain judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
("Commissioner"). The Commissioner denied
plaintiffs applications for Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income
("SSI"), For the reasons set forth below, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
February 9, 2012, plaintiff applied for DIB. She applied for
SSI benefits the following day. Plaintiff alleged disability
beginning February 19, 2009, due to depression with anxiety,
PTSD, diabetes, obesity, asthma, migraines, and polycystic
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
On May 23, 2014, plaintiff appeared at a hearing before an
ALJ. The ALJ found plaintiff not disabled in a written
decision issued June 19, 2014. After the Appeals Council
denied review, plaintiff filed the present complaint in this
district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if
it is based upon proper legal standards and the findings are
supported by substantial evidence in the record. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Berry v. Astrue, 622 F.3d 1228, 1231
(9th Cir. 2010). "Substantial evidence is more than a
mere scintilla but less than a preponderance; it is such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Gutierrez v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec, 740 F.3d 519, 522 (9th Cir. 2014)
(citation and quotation marks omitted). The court must weigh
"both the evidence that supports and the evidence that
detracts from the ALJ's conclusion." Mayes v.
Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459 (9th Cir. 2001). If the
evidence is subject to more than one interpretation but the
Commissioner's decision is rational, the Commissioner
must be affirmed, because "the court may not substitute
its judgment for that of the Commissioner." Edlund
v. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir. 2001).
initial burden of proof rests upon the plaintiff to establish
disability. Howard v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1484, 1486
(9th Cir. 1986). To meet this burden, the plaintiff must
demonstrate an "inability to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected, . . to
last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months[.]" 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v.
Yackert, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4). At step one, the ALJ found plaintiff had not
engaged in "substantial gainful activity" since the
alleged disability onset date. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)(4)(i), (b). At step two, the ALJ found plaintiff
had the following severe impairments: "depression with
anxiety; post-traumatic stress disorder; diabetes mellitus;
obesity; asthma; gastroesophageal reflux disease; migraine
headaches; and polycystic ovarian syndrome." Tr. 12; 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520 et seq. and 416.921
three, the ALJ determined plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that has
significantly limited (or is expected to significantly limit)
the ability to perform basic work-related activities for 12
consecutive months and therefore does not have a severe
impairment or combination of impairments. 20 C.F.R,
§§ 404.1521 et seq. and 416.921 et
then assessed plaintiffs residual functional capacity
("RFC"). 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e); id.
§ 416.920(e). The ALJ then assessed plaintiff residual
functional capacity ("RFC") as follows:
If I found the claimant's mental impairment to be severe,
the claimant would have the residual function capacity to
perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonextertional limitations: only
occasional, brief, superficial interaction ...