United States District Court, D. Oregon
BETTY J. V.,  Plaintiff,
Commissioner, Social Security Administration,  Defendant.
E. HAAPALA, JR. Attorney for Plaintiff.
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief
Counsel SARAH ELIZABETH MOUM Social Security Administration
Office of the General Counsel Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.
Betty J. V. seeks judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in
which she denied Plaintiff's applications for
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance
Benefits (DIB) under Titles XVI and II of the Social Security
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the
decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES
filed her application for DIB on May 21, 2012, and her
application for SSI on June 13, 2012. Tr. 269,
283.Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date
of March 1, 2005. Her applications were denied initially and
on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a
hearing on March 27, 2014. Tr. 42-65. At the hearing
Plaintiff amended her onset date to October 1, 2009. Tr. 46.
Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified. Plaintiff
was represented by an attorney.
April 11, 2014, the ALJ issued an opinion in which he found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 119-36.
September 25, 2015, the Appeals Council entered an order in
which it remanded the matter to the ALJ and directed the ALJ
to “[o]btain additional evidence concerning
[Plaintiff's] anxiety disorder. . . . The additional
evidence may include . . . a consultative examination and
medical source statements about what [Plaintiff] can still do
despite the impairments.” Tr. 138-39.
March 24, 2016, an ALJ held a hearing on remand regarding
additional evidence as to Plaintiff's anxiety disorder.
Tr. 856-73. At the hearing Plaintiff was represented by an
attorney. Plaintiff and a VE testified. On April 21, 2016,
the ALJ issued a decision on remand in which he found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, she is not entitled
to benefits. Tr. 7-26. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. §
404.984(d), that decision became the final decision of the
Commissioner on April 24, 2017, when the Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-6. See
Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
was born on July 19, 1953. Tr. 277. Plaintiff was 62 years
old at the time of the hearing. Plaintiff has a GED. Tr. 77.
Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a
“material expeditor and expeditor.” Tr. 31.
alleges disability due to depression, high blood pressure,
sleep apnea, bipolar disorder, and “history of a
stroke.” Tr. 180.
when noted, Plaintiff does not challenge the ALJ's
summary of the medical evidence. After carefully reviewing
the medical records, this Court adopts the ALJ's summary
of the medical evidence. See Tr. 23-24, 27-31.
initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish
disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110
(9thCir. 2012). To meet this burden, a claimant
must demonstrate her inability "to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which . . . has
lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of
not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
The ALJ must develop the record when there is ambiguous
evidence or when the record is inadequate to allow for proper
evaluation of the evidence. McLeod v. Astrue, 640
F.3d 881, 885 (9th Cir. 2011)(quoting Mayes v.
Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459-60 (9th Cir.
district 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 as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See also Brewes v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th
Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is “relevant evidence
that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Molina, 674 F.3d. at
1110-11 (quoting Valentine v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 690 (9th Cir. 2009)).
"It is more than a mere scintilla [of evidence] but less
than a preponderance." Id. (citing
Valentine, 574 F.3d at 690).
is responsible for determining credibility, resolving
conflicts in the medical evidence, and resolving ambiguities.
Vasquez v. Astrue, 572 F.3d 586, 591 (9th
Cir. 2009). The court must weigh all of the evidence whether
it supports or detracts from the Commissioner's decision.
Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 528 F.3d 1194, 1198
(9th Cir. 2008). Even when the evidence is
susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the
court must uphold the Commissioner's findings if they are
supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the record.
Ludwig v. Astrue, 681 F.3d 1047, 1051
(9th Cir. 2012). The court may not substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner. Widmark v.
Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1070 (9th Cir.