United States District Court, D. Oregon
DELANO O. N.,  Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
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 his application
for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 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
an award of benefits or, in the alternative, for further
reasons set out below, the Commissioner's decision is
filed an application for SSI benefits on December 12, 2013,
alleging disability as of the same date. After his claim was
denied initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff
requested an administrative hearing.
23, 2016, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ) Britannia Hobbs. Plaintiff and Nancy Bloom, an
impartial vocational expert (VE), testified at the hearing.
Plaintiff was represented by counsel.
partially favorable amended decision dated October 18, 2016,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff was disabled as of July 23,
2015, the date he turned age 55, but was not disabled prior
to that date.
19, 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 1960 and was 56 years old at the time of the
ALJ's decision. He completed 7th grade and has
past relevant work as a furniture mover/driver and an odd-job
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), 416.920(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.
§§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c).
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), 416.920(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
of the claimant's case proceeds under Step Five. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(f), 416.920(f).
Five. The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
is able to do any other work. A claimant who cannot perform
other work is disabled. If the Commissioner finds that the
claimant is able to do other work, the Commissioner must show
that a significant number of jobs exist in the national
economy that the claimant can do. The Commissioner may
satisfy this burden through the testimony of a vocational
expert (VE) or by reference to the Medical-Vocational
Guidelines, 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2. If the
Commissioner demonstrates that a significant number of jobs
exist in the national economy that the claimant can do, the
claimant is not disabled. If the Commissioner does not meet
this burden, the claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
Steps One through Four, the burden of proof is on the
claimant. Tackett, 180 F.3d at 1098. At Step Five,
the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the
claimant can perform jobs ...