United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
M. REBERS Robyn M. Rebers, LLC, BILLY J. WILLIAMS, United
States Attorney, RENATA GOWIE, Assistant United States
JEFFREY E. STAPLES, Special Assistant United States Attorney
Office of the General Counsel
OPINION AND ORDER
V. Acosta, United States Magistrate Judge.
("Plaintiff) seeks judicial review of the final decision
by the Social Security: Commissioner
("Commissioner") denying his application for
Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title
II of the Social Security Act ("SSA"). This Court
has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's decision
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Based on a careful
review of the record, the Commissioner's decision is
filed for DIB on February 10, 2014, alleging disability as of
January 1, 2011, due to depression; anxiety; post-traumatic
stress disorder ("PTSD"); and colon cancer. (Tr.
190.): His application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 22.) A hearing was held on;
October 27, 2016, before an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"); Plaintiff was represented by an; attorney,
and testified, as did a vocational expert ("VE").
(Tr. 44-59.) On November 29, 2016, ALJ Paul Robeck issued a
decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 22-30.)
Plaintiff requested timely review of the ALJ's decision
and, after the Appeals Council denied his request for review,
filed a complaint in this Court. (Tr. 1-3.)
1950, Plaintiff was 60 years old on his alleged disability
onset date. (Tr. 28.) He completed high school, and
previously worked as a self-employed welder and metal
fabricator. (Tr. 191.)
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. Hammock
v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989). Substantial
evidence is "more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and internal
quotations omitted). The court must weigh "both the
evidence that supports and detracts from the
[Commissioner's] conclusions." Martinez v.
Heckler, 807 F.2d 771, 772 (9th Cir. 1986). Variable
interpretations of the evidence are insignificant if the
Commissioner's interpretation is rational. Burch v.
Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005).
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. §
404.1502. First, the Commissioner considers whether a
claimant is engaged in "substantial gainful
activity." Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 140; 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(b). If so, the claimant is not disabled.
two, the Commissioner evaluates 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). If the claimant does not have a
severe impairment, he is not disabled.
three, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant's
impairments, either 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 140-41; 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d). If so, the
claimant is presumptively disabled; if not, the Commissioner
proceeds to step four. Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141.
four, the Commissioner resolves whether the claimant can
still perform "past j relevant work." 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(f); 404.920(f). If the claimant can
work, he is not : disabled; if he cannot perform