United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Elders, United States Magistrate Judge
J. Wall 1336 E. Burnside St., Suite 130 Portland, OR 97214
Attorney for Plaintiff Billy J. Williams, United States
Attorney Renata A. Gowie, Assistant United States Attorney
1000 S.W. 3rd Avenue, Suite 600 Portland, OR 97204-2902 Sarah
Moum Office of the General Counsel Social Security
Administration 701 5th Avenue, Suite 2900 M/S 221A Seattle,
WA 98104-7075 Attorneys for Defendant JELDERKS, Magistrate
Sarah P. (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 Income (SSI) under the Social Security Act (the
Act). For the reasons that follow, the Commissioner's
decision is AFFIRMED.
protectively filed her application for SSI on February 4,
2014, alleging disability beginning April 1, 2004. Tr. 17.
The Commissioner denied her application initially and on
reconsideration. Plaintiff appeared at hearings on June 26,
2015 and October 13, 2015, before Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ) Rudolph M. Murgo. Tr. 39. Plaintiff was represented by
counsel and testified; Gary Jesky, a vocational expert (VE),
also testified. Tr. 39-70. The ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision on October 30, 2015. Tr. 30. 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 1972 and was 40 years old on the application
filing date. Tr. 28. She took special education classes in
high school and later achieved a GED; she also completed
training as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Tr. 320. She
has worked as a caregiver, cook, and receptionist. Tr. 320.
Plaintiff alleges disability due to post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD); clinical depression; anxiety; multiple
personality disorder; degenerative joint disease; loss of
feeling in both her hands; chronic pain; chronic sinusitis;
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); and
attention deficit disorder (ADD). Tr. 319.
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).
One. The 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. § 416.920(b).
Two. The 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. § 416.920(c).
Three. Disability 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.
Four. The 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).
Five. The 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 ...