United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER
YIM YOU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Rex. H., seeks judicial review of the final decision by the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”)
denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act
(“Act”). 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-433. This
court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's
decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). All parties
have consented to allow a Magistrate Judge to enter final
orders and judgment in this case in accordance with FRCP 73
and 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). ECF #5. For the reasons below,
the Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
2015, plaintiff protectively filed for DIB alleging a
disability onset date of July 7, 2015. Tr. 19. He requested a
hearing after his application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. Tr. 76, 90. On July 11, 2016, a hearing was
held before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Vadim Mozyrsky, wherein plaintiff was represented by counsel
and testified, as did a vocational expert (“VE”).
Tr. 32-64. At the hearing, plaintiff amended his alleged
disability onset date to October 2, 2012. Tr. 19. The ALJ
issued a decision on August 10, 2016, finding plaintiff not
disabled within the meaning of the Act. Tr. 16-26. After the
Appeals Council denied his request for review, plaintiff
filed a complaint in this court. Tr. 1-4. The ALJ's
decision is therefore the Commissioner's final decision
subject to review by this court. 20 C.F.R. §§
1955, plaintiff was 60 years old on the alleged disability
onset date, and 61 years old at the time of his
administrative hearing. Tr. 146. He completed one year of
college. Tr. 168. He had past relevant work experience as a
webpage designer. Tr. 26, 169. Plaintiff alleged disability
due to depression, bipolar disorder, high blood pressure,
degenerative disc disease, bilateral “shoulder
problems, ” and Lyme disease. Tr. 167.
reviewing 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. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Lewis v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 909, 911
(9th Cir. 2007). This court must weigh the evidence that
supports and detracts from the ALJ's conclusion and
“‘may not affirm simply by isolating a specific
quantum of supporting evidence.'” Garrison v.
Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009-10 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th
Cir. 2007)). The reviewing court may not substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner when the evidence can
reasonably support either affirming or reversing the
decision. Parra v. Astrue, 481 F.3d 742, 746 (9th
Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). Instead, where the evidence is
susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the
Commissioner's decision must be upheld if it is
“supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the
record.” Tommasetti v. Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035,
1038 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted); see also
Lingenfelter, 504 F.3d at 1035.
ANALYSIS AND ALJ FINDINGS
is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
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 engages in a five-step sequential
inquiry to determine whether a claimant is disabled within
the meaning of the Act. This sequential analysis is set forth
in Social Security Administration (“Agency”)
regulations, 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520, in Ninth Circuit case
law, Lounsburry v. Barnhart, 468 F.3d 1111, 1114
(9th Cir. 2006) (discussing Tackett v. Apfel, 180
F.3d 1094, 1098-99 (9th Cir. 1999)), and in the ALJ's
decision, Tr. 20-21.
one, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since October 2, 2012, the
alleged onset date of disability. Tr. 21.
two, the ALJ determined that plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: obesity, degenerative disc disease,
hypertension, and bilateral shoulder cuff pathology.
Id. The ALJ further found plaintiff's sleep
apnea, depression, and anxiety were non-severe medically
determinable impairments. Id.
three, the ALJ concluded plaintiff did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that met or equaled any listed
impairment. Tr. 22.
then found plaintiff has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform less than the full range of
light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b), with
the following limitations:
He can lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds
frequently. He can sit 6 hours out of an 8-hour day, stand
and walk 6 hours total out of an 8-hour day. He can push and
pull as much as he can lift and carry. He is limited to
occasional overhead reaching. He can never work at
unprotected heights, around moving mechanical parts, or
operate a motor vehicle.
determined at step four that plaintiff was capable of
performing his past relevant work as a web designer. Tr. 26.
Accordingly, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not