United States District Court, D. Oregon
MERRILL SCHNEIDER, Schneider Kerr & Robichaux, Attorneys
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney.
MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief Counsel SARAH L. MARTIN
Special Assistant United States Attorney Social Security
Administration Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.
Kayla B. seeks judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in
which the Commissioner denied Plaintiff's applications
for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the
Social Security Act and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. This Court has
jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the
decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES
protectively filed her applications for DIB and SSI benefits
on April 9, 2013. Tr. 15. Plaintiff alleges a disability onset
date of July 1, 2012. Tr. 15. Plaintiff's
applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. An
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on December 15,
2015. Tr. 15, 33-61. Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE)
testified. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at the
February 5, 2016, the ALJ issued an opinion in which he found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 15-27. On April 7, 2016, Plaintiff requested
review by the Appeals Council. Tr. 201. On May 5, 2017, the
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff s request to review the
ALJ's decision, and the ALJ's decision became the
final decision of the Commissioner. Tr. 1-3. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court seeking
review of the Commissioner's decision.
was born on August 17, 1987. Tr. 25. Plaintiff was
twenty-four years old on the alleged disability onset date.
Tr. 25. Plaintiff has at least a high-school education. Tr.
25. The ALJ found Plaintiff has past relevant work experience
as a daycare worker and dietary aide. Tr. 25.
alleges disability due to a congenital deformity of her right
hand. Tr. 324. Plaintiff also alleges she is limited by
anxiety and depression. Tr. 343.
as 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. 20-25.
initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish
disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110
(9th Cir. 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. 2001)).
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. Coram'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. Coram'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 evaluating a claimant's testimony,
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. 2006).