United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
W. BREWER Law Offices of Bruce W. Brewer, PC Attorney for
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney
GOWIE Assistant United States Attorney District of Oregon
F. HIGHLAND Special Assistant United States Attorney Office
of the General Counsel Of Attorneys for Defendant
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
V. ACOSTA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
H. ("Plaintiff) seeks judicial review of the final
decision by the Social Security Commissioner
("Commissioner") denying his application for
Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Title
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
filed for SSI on January 17, 2013, alleging disability as of
October 31, 2011, due to a cognitive disorder, bicuspid
aortic valve, and depression. Tr. 172. His application was
denied initially and upon reconsideration. A hearing was held
on February 9, 2015, before an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"); Plaintiff was represented by a
non-attorney representative and testified, as did a
vocational expert ("VE"). Tr. 35-61. On June 23,
2015, ALJ Vadim Mozyrsky issued a decision finding Plaintiff
not disabled. Tr. 10-28. Plaintiff requested timely review of
the ALJ's decision and, after the Appeals Council denied
his request for review, filed a complaint in this Court. Tr.
1991, Plaintiff was 20 years old on his alleged disability
onset date. Tr. 24. As the result of many missed classes due
to a hospitalization, Plaintiff attended special education
classes after his junior year of high school. Tr. 173.
Plaintiff graduated from high school and took community
college classes. Tr. 49-50. He briefly helped at a dairy farm
and dog kennel, but has "minimal work experience."
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
C.F.R. § 416.920(b). If so, the claimant is not
two, the Commissioner evaluates whether the claimant has a
"medically severe impairment or combination of
impairments." Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 140-41; 20
C.F.R. § 4l6.920(a)(4)(ii). If the claimant does not
have a severe impairment, he is not disabled.
three, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant's
impairments, either 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 140-41; 20 C.F.R. § 4l6.920(a)(4)(iii). If so,
the claimant is ...