United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OPINION AND ORDER
YIM YOU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Otilia D. seeks judicial review of the final decision by the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”)
denying her application for Title II Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”) under the Social Security Act
(“Act”). This court has jurisdiction to review
the Commissioner's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). The Commissioner's
decision is supported by substantial evidence; therefore, it
filed an application for DIB on September 5, 2012, alleging
disability beginning January 1, 2007. Tr. 26. Plaintiff's
claim was initially denied on April 10, 2013, and upon
reconsideration on September 12, 2013. Id. A hearing
was held before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) on December 18, 2014, in which plaintiff
testified, as did a vocational expert (“VE”). Tr.
38-61. On February 13, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision
finding plaintiff not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
Tr. 26-33. After the Appeals Council denied her request for
review, plaintiff filed a complaint in this court. Tr. 15-18.
The ALJ's decision is therefore the Commissioner's
final decision subject to review by this court. 20 C.F.R.
reviewing 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. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Lewis v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 909, 911
(9th Cir. 2007). This court must weigh the evidence that
supports and detracts from the ALJ's conclusion and
“‘may not affirm simply by isolating a specific
quantum of supporting evidence.'” Garrison v.
Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009-10 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th
Cir. 2007)). The reviewing court may not substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner when the evidence can
reasonably support either affirming or reversing the
decision. Parra v. Astrue, 481 F.3d 742, 746 (9th
Cir. 2007). Instead, where the evidence is susceptible to
more than one rational interpretation, the Commissioner's
decision must be upheld if it is “supported by
inferences reasonably drawn from the record.”
Tommasetti v. Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th Cir.
2008) (citation omitted); see also
Lingenfelter, 504 F.3d at 1035.
ANALYSIS AND ALJ FINDINGS
is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
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). The ALJ engages in a five-step sequential
inquiry to determine whether a claimant is disabled within
the meaning of the Act. This sequential analysis is set forth
in the Social Security regulations, 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520, 416.920, in Ninth Circuit case law, Lounsburry
v. Barnhart, 468 F.3d 1111, 1114 (9th Cir. 2006)
(discussing Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99
(9th Cir. 1999)), and in the ALJ's decision in this case,
one, the ALJ found plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date. Tr. 28.
two, the ALJ found plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: old left shoulder fracture, status-post open
reduction internal fixation of the left humerus and forearm,
left knee and left ankle degenerative joint disease, and
lumbar degenerative disc disease at the L5-S1 level.
three, the ALJ found plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled a
listed impairment. Tr. 29. The ALJ next assessed
plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) and determined that she could perform
medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(c),
finding she could lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally and
25 pounds frequently, stand and walk six hours in an
eight-hour workday, sit for six hours in an eight-hour
workday, frequently crouch, crawl, kneel, and stoop, and
frequently reach in any direction with the left upper
four, the ALJ found plaintiff was able to perform her past
relevant work as a farm worker. Tr. 31.
the ALJ was not required to continue the sequential analysis,
she proceeded to step five and determined in the alternative
that plaintiff also could perform jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national ...