United States District Court, D. Oregon
DANIEL W. E.,  Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
Jelderks U.S. Magistrate Judge
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Â§405(g) seeking
judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security (the Commissioner) denying his application
for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under the Social
Security Act (the Act). Plaintiff requests that the Court
reverse the Commissioner's decision and remand this
action to the Social Security Administration (the Agency) for
reasons set out below, the Commissioner's decision is
filed an application for DIB benefits on May 21, 2013,
alleging he had been disabled since October 15, 2012. After
his claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration,
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing.
February 2, 2016, a hearing was convened before
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Joanne Dantonio. Based on
Plaintiff's presentation at the hearing, the matter was
continued for a consultative examination to be conducted.
April 18, 2016, a second hearing was held. Plaintiff and
Richard Hincks, an impartial vocational expert (VE),
testified at the hearing. Plaintiff was represented by
counsel and a non-attorney representative.
decision dated August 31, 2016, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
November 30, 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 1963 and was 53 years old at the time of the
ALJ's decision. He has a high school education and
completed one year of college. Plaintiff has past relevant
work as a can inspector, an industrial cleaner, a produce
inspector, and an equipment cleaner.
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