United States District Court, D. Oregon
Wall Attorney for Plaintiff
J. Williams, U.S. Attorney Renata Gowie, Asst. U.S. Attorney
Heather Griffith Special Asst. U.S. Attorney Office of the
General Counsel Social Security Administration Attorneys for
OPINION AND ORDER
Jelderks, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 405(g) seeking
judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security (the Commissioner) denying her applications
for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) under the Social Security Act (the
Act). Plaintiff requests the Court remand this action to the
Social Security Administration (the Agency) for further
reasons set out below, the Commissioner's decision is
reversed, and this action is remanded for further
filed applications for SSI benefits and a period of
disability and DIB on March 11, 2013, alleging she had been
disabled since April 15, 2010. After her claim was denied
initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested an
November 5, 2015, a hearing was held before Administrative
Law Judge (ALJ) Paul Robeck. Plaintiff and Richard Hincks, an
impartial vocational expert (VE), testified at the hearing.
Plaintiff was represented by counsel.
decision dated November 30, 2015, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
January 26, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review, rendering the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. In the present action,
Plaintiff challenges that decision.
was born in 1980 and was 35 years old at the time of the
ALJ's decision. Plaintiff has a high school education and
obtained an Associate's Degree in Science and General
Studies. She has past relevant work as a property manager.
engages in a five-step sequential inquiry to determine
whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Act.
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. Below is a summary
of the five steps, which also are described in Tackett v.
Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99 (9th Cir.
One. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant is
engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A claimant
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. § 404.1520(b).
Two. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
has one or more severe impairments. A claimant who does not
have such an impairment is not disabled. If the claimant has
a severe impairment, the Commissioner proceeds to evaluate
the claimant's case under Step Three. 20 C.F.R. §
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 such an impairment is disabled. If the
claimant's impairment does not meet or equal an
impairment listed in the regulations, the Commissioner's
evaluation of the claimant's case proceeds under Step
Four. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d).
Four. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
is able to perform relevant 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
work performed in the past, the Commissioner's evaluation