United States District Court, D. Oregon
L. Gabin Sara L. Gabin, P.C., Attorney at Law Attorney for
J. Williams United States Attorney Renata Gowie Assistant
United States Attorney Catherine Escobar Special Assistant
United States Attorney Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION & ORDER
A HERNÁNDEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Kate B. brings this action for judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision denying her application
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act. The Court has jurisdiction
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (incorporated by 42 U.S.C.
§ 1382(c)(3)). Because the Commissioner's decision
is free of legal error and supported by substantial evidence
in the record, it is AFFIRMED and this case is DISMISSED.
was born on March 2, 1975, and was thirty-seven years old on
the alleged disability onset date, October 19, 2012. Tr.
She earned a GED and has past relevant work experience as a
mail carrier. Tr. 32, 42. Plaintiff's benefits
application was denied initially on January 23, 2013, and
upon reconsideration on July 19, 2013. Tr. 85-86, 98-99. A
hearing was held before ALJ Kelly Wilson on April 23, 2015.
Tr. 40. ALJ Wilson issued a written decision on May 6, 2015,
finding Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 19-33. The Appeals
Council declined review, rendering ALJ Wilson's decision
the Commissioner's final decision that Plaintiff now
challenges in this Court. Tr. 1-6.
claimant is disabled if she is unable 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). Disability claims are evaluated according to a
five-step procedure. Valentine v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009). The claimant
bears the ultimate burden of proving disability. Id.
first step, the Commissioner determines whether a claimant is
engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” If so,
the claimant is not disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482
U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b),
416.920(b). At step two, the Commissioner determines whether
the claimant has a “medically severe impairment or
combination of impairments.” Yuckert, 482 U.S.
at 140-41; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c). If
not, the claimant is not disabled.
three, the Commissioner determines whether claimant's
impairments, singly or in combination, meet or equal
“one of a number of listed impairments that the
[Commissioner] acknowledges are so severe as to preclude
substantial gainful activity.” Yuckert, 482
U.S. at 141; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 416.920(d).
If so, the claimant is conclusively presumed disabled; if
not, the Commissioner proceeds to step four.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141.
four, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant,
despite any impairment(s), has the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform “past relevant
work.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e).
If the claimant can, the claimant is not disabled. If the
claimant cannot perform past relevant work, the burden shifts
to the Commissioner. At step five, the Commissioner must
establish that the claimant can perform other work.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141-42; 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(e) & (f), 416.920(e) & (f). If the
Commissioner meets its burden and proves that the claimant is
able to perform other work which exists in the national
economy, the claimant is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since August 18, 2012, the
alleged disability onset date. Tr. 21.
two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following
severe impairments: “degenerative disc disease, a leg
length discrepancy, and spina bifida occulta.” Tr. 21.
three, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments. Tr. 23.
proceeding to step four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff
has the RFC to perform less than a full range of light work
with the following limitations:
The claimant can lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and
10 pounds frequently in an eight-hour workday. She can stand
and/or walk for six hours and sit for six hours in an
eight-hour workday. She can frequently stoop, kneel, crouch,
crawl, and climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She must avoid
concentrated exposure to vibrations.
four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff is unable to perform