United States District Court, D. Oregon
Sherwood J. Reese Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorney for
Gowie Assistant United States Attorney, Sarah Moum Social
Security Administration Office of the General Counsel
Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION & ORDER
A. HERNÁNDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tammy S. brings this action for judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision denying her application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and
Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This Court has
jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (incorporated by
42 U.S.C. § 1382(c)(3)). The Commissioner's decision
is reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
applied for DIB and SSI on September 4, 2013, alleging
disability as of January 1, 2008. Tr. 108. Plaintiff's
date last insured (“DLI”) is December 31, 2009.
Tr. 18. Her application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. Tr. 142-50, 152-57. On July 15, 2016,
Plaintiff appeared, with counsel, for a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Tr. 46. On October 18, 2016,
the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 31. The Appeals
Council denied review. Tr. 1.
initially alleged disability based on fibromyalgia, panic
disorder, and depression. Tr. 234. She was 27 at the time of
her alleged onset date and 35 at the time of the
administrative hearing. Tr. 29-30. Plaintiff has a high
school education and past relevant work experience as a
certified nurse assistant and certified medical technician.
claimant is disabled if unable 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). Disability claims are evaluated according to a
five-step procedure. See, e.g., Valentine v.
Comm'r, 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009). The
claimant bears the ultimate burden of proving disability.
first step, the Commissioner determines whether a claimant is
engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” If so,
the claimant is not disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482
U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b),
416.920(b). In step two, the Commissioner determines whether
the claimant has a “medically severe impairment or
combination of impairments.” Yuckert, 482 U.S.
137 at 140-41; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c),
416.920(c). If not, the claimant is not disabled.
three, the Commissioner determines whether the impairment
meets or equals “one of a number of listed impairments
that the [Commissioner] acknowledges are so severe as to
preclude substantial gainful activity.”
Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141; 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(d), 416.920(d). If so, the claimant is conclusively
presumed disabled; if not, the Commissioner proceeds to step
four. Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141.
four, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant,
despite any impairment(s), has the residual functional
capacity to perform “past relevant work.” 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e). If the claimant
can, the claimant is not disabled. If the claimant cannot
perform past relevant work, the burden shifts to the
Commissioner. In step five, the Commissioner must establish
that the claimant can perform other work. Yuckert,
482 U.S. at 141-42; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e) &
(f), 416.920(e) & (f). If the Commissioner meets his
burden and proves that the claimant is able to perform other
work which exists in the national economy, the claimant is
not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1566, 416.966.
one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity after her alleged onset date of
January 1, 2008. Tr. 20. Next, at steps two and three, the
ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: “fibromyalgia; polyarthralgias; asthma;
major depressive disorder; dysthymia; generalized anxiety
disorder; panic disorder; posttraumatic stress disorder
(PTSD); somatization disorder; personality disorders
(depressive, avoidant, dependent); and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” Tr. 20. However, the
ALJ determined that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet
or medically equal the severity of a listed impairment. Tr.