United States District Court, D. Oregon
J. Wall Attorney for Plaintiff
J. Williams United States Attorney Renata Gowie Assistant
United States Attorney District of Oregon Joseph J. Langkamer
Social Security Administration Office of the General Counsel
Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION & ORDER
A. Hernández United States District Judge.
Jeffrey W. brings this action seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision to deny supplemental
security income (SSI). This Court has jurisdiction under 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) (incorporated by 42 U.S.C. §
1383(c)(3)). The Court reverses and remands the
Commissioner's decision for further administrative
applied for DIB and SSI on September 26, 2013, alleging an
onset date of March 31, 1995. Tr. 143. His application
for DIB was denied initially and on reconsideration based on
res judicata. Tr. 44-46, 51-53. Plaintiff voluntarily
withdrew his DIB claim in a letter dated January 11, 2016.
Tr. 117. Plaintiff's SSI claim was denied initially and
on reconsideration. Tr. 19.
January 26, 2016, Plaintiff appeared, with counsel, for a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Tr. 633. On
April 27, 2016, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 33.
The Appeals Council denied review. Tr. 7.
alleged disability based on manic depressive disorder,
bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, severe
hypertension, and sleep apnea. Tr. 148. At the time of the
application, he was 42 years old. Tr. 31. He has a high
school education and no past relevant work experience. Tr.
claimant is disabled if they are unable to “engage in
any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment 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), 1382c(a)(3)(A). Disability claims are evaluated
according to a five-step procedure. See
Valentine v. Comm'r, 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir.
2009) (in social security cases, agency uses five-step
procedure to determine disability. The claimant bears the
ultimate burden of proving disability. Id.
first step, the Commissioner determines whether a claimant is
engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” If so,
the claimant is not disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482
U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b),
416.920(b). In step two, the Commissioner determines 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), 416.920(c. If
not, the claimant is not disabled.
three, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant's
impairments, 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 141; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 416.920(d).
If so, the claimant is conclusively presumed disabled; if
not, the Commissioner proceeds to step four.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141.
four, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant,
despite any impairment(s), has the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform “past relevant work.”
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e). If the
claimant can perform past relevant work, the claimant is not
disabled. If the claimant cannot perform past relevant work,
the burden shifts to the Commissioner. In step five, the
Commissioner must establish that the claimant can perform
other work. Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141-42; 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(e) & (f), 416.920(e) & (f). If
the Commissioner meets his burden and proves that the
claimant can perform other work that exists in the national
economy, the claimant is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity after his application date of
September 26, 2013. Tr. 22. Next, at steps two and three, the
ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: “bipolar disorder vs. depressive disorder,
anxiety-related disorders, including posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), and cannabis dependence.” Tr. 22.
However, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's impairments
did not meet or medically equal the severity of a listed
impairment. Tr. 23. At step four, the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform a
full range of work at all exertional levels with the
The claimant can perform simple, repetitive tasks. The
claimant cannot have interaction with the public. The
claimant can have superficial interaction with coworkers and
supervisors. The claimant should have a job where he is
working primarily in isolation and in an environment with a
limited number of people. (i.e., no more than 5 coworkers).
The claimant should not work in coordination with others.
Tr. 24. Plaintiff had no past relevant work. Tr. 31. But at
step five the ALJ found that jobs exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform,
such as “industrial cleaner, ” “laundry
worker II, ” and “cleaner, housekeeping.”
Tr. 32. Thus, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is not
disabled. Tr. 33.