United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
JANET L. BISCONER, Plaintiff,
NANCY A, BERRYHILL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
MERRILL SCHNEIDER Attorney for Plaintiff.
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney.
GOWIE Assistant United States Attorney.
D. GODDARD Special Assistant United States Attorney.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
V. Acosta United States Magistrate Judge.
Lynn Bisconer ("Bisconer") seeks judicial review of
the final decision by the Social Security Commissioner
("Commissioner") denying her application for
Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and
Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act ("SSA"). This
Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's
decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Based on a
careful review of the record, the Commissioner's decision
should be REVERSED and REMANDED for further proceedings.
filed for DIB and SSI on November 12, 2013, alleging
disability as of November 12, 2013, due to degenerative bone
disease (multiple bones); "veins breaking;" blood
clots; and a history of alcoholism. Tr. 73. Her application
was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Tr. 133, 146.
Bisconer subsequently amended her alleged onset date to
December 1, 2007. Tr. 21. A hearing was held on
April 5, 2016, before an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"); Bisconer was represented by counsel and
testified, as did a vocational expert
("VE"). Tr. 40. On July 28, 2016, ALJ Steve Lynch
issued a decision finding Bisconer not disabled. Tr. 21-32.
Bisconer requested timely review of the ALJ's decision
and, after the Appeals Council denied her request for review,
filed a complaint in this Court. Tr. 1-5.
1963, Bisconer was 44 years old on the amended disability
onset date and the date last insured ("DLI"). Tr.
24. She completed high school high school and later attended
accredited small-business classes. Tr. 42, 73. She previously
worked as a medical technician for a psychiatric facility, a
forklift driver, and a warehouse worker, Tr. 77.
court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if it is
based on proper legal standards and the findings are
supported by substantial evidence in the record. Hammock
v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989), Substantial
evidence is "more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and internal
quotations omitted). The court must weigh "both the
evidence that supports and detracts from the
[Commissioner's] conclusions." Martinez v.
Heckler, 807 F.2d 771, 772 (9th Cir. 1986). Variable
interpretations of the evidence are insignificant if the
Commissioner's interpretation is rational. Burch v.
Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005).
initial burden of proof rests upon the claimant to establish
disability. Howard v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1484, 1486
(9th Cir. 1986). To meet this burden, the claimant 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.
Yuckert,482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1502 and 404.920. First, the Commissioner
considers whether a claimant is engaged in "substantial
gainful activity." Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 140; 20