United States District Court, D. Oregon
Katherine L. Eitenmiller Mark A. Manning HARDER, WELLS, BARON
& MANNING, P.C. Attorneys for Plaintiff
J. Williams, United States Attorney Renata A. Gowie,
Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Lu Office of the
General Counsel Social Security Administration Attorneys for
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
JELDERKS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Sophie F. (Plaintiff) brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c) seeking judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (the Commissioner) denying her application for
Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) under the Social
Security Act (the Act). For the reasons that follow, the
Commissioner's decision should be AFFIRMED.
protectively filed her application for SSI on April 6, 2015,
alleging disability beginning February 1, 2007. Tr. 15. The
Commissioner denied her application initially and on
reconsideration. Plaintiff appeared at a hearing on April 11,
2016, before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) John Michaelsen.
Tr. 30. Plaintiff was represented by counsel and testified; a
vocational expert (VE) also testified. Tr. 30-67. The ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision on May 11, 2016. Tr. 25.
Plaintiff appealed, and the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-3. Plaintiff now
timely appeals the Commissioner's final decision.
was born in 1995 and was 11 years old on the date she alleges
she became disabled. Tr. 23. Plaintiff did not graduate from
high school, but later obtained a GED. Tr. 44, 202. Plaintiff
has no past work experience. Tr. 183. Plaintiff alleges
disability due to schizoaffective disorder; post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD); anxiety; and panic attacks. Tr. 201.
engages in a five-step sequential inquiry to determine
whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Act.
20 C.F.R. § 416.920. The five step sequential inquiry is
summarized below, as described in Tackett v. Apfel,
180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99 (9th Cir. 1999).
Commissioner determines whether the claimant is engaged in
substantial gainful activity. A claimant who is engaged in
such activity is not disabled. If the claimant is not engaged
in substantial gainful activity, the Commissioner proceeds to
evaluate the claimant's case under Step Two. 20 C.F.R.
Commissioner determines whether the claimant has one or more
severe impairments. A claimant who does not have any such
impairment is not disabled. If the claimant has one or more
severe impairment(s), the Commissioner proceeds to evaluate
the claimant's case under Step Three. 20 C.F.R. §
cannot be based solely on a severe impairment; therefore, the
Commissioner next determines whether the claimant's
impairment “meets or equals” one of the
presumptively disabling impairments listed in the Social
Security Administration (SSA) regulations, 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. A claimant who has an impairment
that meets a listing is presumed disabled under the Act. If
the claimant's impairment does not meet or equal an
impairment in the listings, the Commissioner's evaluation
of the claimant's case proceeds under Step Four. 20
C.F.R. § 416.920(d).
Commissioner determines whether the claimant is able to
perform work he or she has done in the past. A claimant who
can perform past relevant work is not disabled. If the
claimant demonstrates he or she cannot do past relevant work,
the Commissioner's evaluation of claimant's case
proceeds under Step Five. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(e), (f).
Commissioner determines whether the claimant is able to do
any other work. A claimant who cannot perform other work is
disabled. If the Commissioner finds claimant is able to do
other work, the Commissioner must show that a significant
number of jobs exist in the national economy that claimant is
able to do. The Commissioner may satisfy this burden through
the testimony of a vocational expert (VE), or by reference to
the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 2. If the Commissioner demonstrates that
a significant number of jobs exist in the national economy
that the claimant is able to do, the claimant is not
disabled. If the Commissioner does not meet the burden, the
claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(g)(1).
steps one through four of the sequential inquiry, the burden
of proof is on the claimant. Tackett, 180 F.3d at
1098. At step five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to
show the claimant can perform jobs ...