United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
J. Williams UNITED STATES ATTORNEY Renata Gowie ASSISTANT
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY Thomas M. Elsberry SPECIAL ASSISTANT
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY Office of the General Counsel Social
Security Administration Attorney for Defendant
OPINION & ORDER
HERNANDEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Michael P. brings this action seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision to deny disability
insurance benefits (DIB). I reverse the Commissioner's
applied for DIB on December 2, 2013, alleging an onset date of
June 1, 2006. Tr. 245-48. His application was denied
initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 75, 77-85, 132-36
(Initial); Tr. 97, 99-109, 147-49 (Recon.). On February 29,
2016, Plaintiff appeared for a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Tr. 69-74. He was not
represented by counsel. Id. No substantive testimony
was provided at the hearing, which was reset to allow
Plaintiff to obtain representation. Id. On July 15,
2016, Plaintiff again appeared for a hearing and this time he
was represented by counsel. Tr. 36-68. On August 30, 2016,
the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled on his DIB claim. Tr.
15-35. The Appeals Council denied review. Tr. 1-5.
alleges disability based on having epilepsy, anxiety, memory
impairment, coordination issues, persistent twitch, and
severe depression. Tr. 265. At the time of the July 2016
hearing, he was sixty-four years old. Tr. 245 (showing date
of birth). He has one year of college and has past work
experience as a carpenter, cleaner, and metal collector. Tr.
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. §§
claims are evaluated according to a five-step procedure.
See Valentine v. Comm'r, 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th
Cir. 2009) (in social security cases, agency uses five-step
procedure to determine disability). The claimant bears the
ultimate burden of proving disability. Id.
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.
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 plaintiff's
impairments, singly or in combination, meet or equal
"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 (RFC) to perform "past relevant work." 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e). If the claimant
can perform past relevant work, 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 ...