United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Aiken United States District Judge.
Tammy J. brings this action pursuant to the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to obtain judicial review of a
final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
("Commissioner"). The Commissioner denied
plaintiffs applications for Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income
("SSI"). For the reasons set forth below, the
Commissioner's decision is reversed and remanded for an
immediate award of benefits.
March 2013, plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI. She alleged
disability beginning April 9, 1985, due to mild mental
retardation and anxiety. Plaintiffs applications were denied
initially and upon reconsideration. On February 11, 2016,
plaintiff appeared at a hearing before an ALJ, On March 3,
2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not
disabled. After the Appeals Council denied review, plaintiff
filed a complaint in this Court.
district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if
it is based upon proper legal standards and the findings are
supported by substantial evidence in the record. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Berry v. Astrue, 622 F.3d 1228, 1231
(9th Cir. 2010). "Substantial evidence is more than a
mere scintilla but less than a preponderance; it is such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Gutierrez v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 740 F.3d 519, 522 (9th Cir.
2014) (citation and quotation marks omitted). The court must
weigh "both the evidence that supports and the evidence
that detracts from the ALJ's conclusion." Mayes
v. Massanarit 276 F.3d 453, 459 (9th Cir. 2001). If the
evidence is subject to more than one interpretation but the
Commissioner's decision is rational, the Commissioner
must be affirmed because "the court may not substitute
its judgment for that of the Commissioner." Edhtnd
v. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir. 2001).
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. §
404.1520(a)(4); id. § 416.920(a)(4). At step
one, the ALJ found plaintiff had not engaged in
"substantial gainful activity" since the alleged
disability onset date. Tr. 22; 20 C.F.R, §
404.1520(a)(4)(i), (b); id § 416.920(a)(4)(i),
(b). At step two, the ALJ found plaintiff suffers from the
severe impairments of asthma, anxiety disorder, and
intellectual disability. See 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(h), (c); id § 416.920(a)(4)(h),
three, the ALJ determined plaintiffs impairments, whether
considered singly or in combination, did not meet or equal
"one of the listed impairments" that the
Commissioner acknowledges are so severe as to preclude
substantial gainful activity. Tr, 23; 20 CF.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(iii), (d); id. §
416.920(a)(4)(iii), (d). In particular, the ALJ addressed
Listing 12.05, which governs intellectual disorders. As
relevant in this appeal, the ALJ found that plaintiffs
"intellectual disability ... does not satisfy the
criteria of Listing 12.05 because there is insufficient
evidence of... a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ
of sixty through seventy and a physical or other mental
impairment imposing an additional and significant
work-related limitation of function," Tr. 23.
found plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
to perform work that requires understanding and carrying out
no more than simple instructions in a work environment with
few workplace changes. The claimant must avoid even moderate
exposure to fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and poorly ventilated
areas. The claimant is able to perform this work at all
Tr. 24; see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e);
id. § 416.920(e).
four, the ALJ concluded plaintiff could perform her past work
as a cleaner or housekeeper. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(iv)) (f); id. §
416.920(a)(4)(iv). Accordingly, the ALJ found ...