United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
WILLIE J. W. , Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
Sherwood J. Reese DREW L. JOHNSON, P.C. Attorney for
J. Williams UNITED STATES ATTORNEY District of Oregon Renata
Gowie ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY Heather L. Griffith
SPECIAL ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY Office of the
General Counsel Social Security Administration Attorneys for
OPINION & ORDER
A. Hernandez, United States District Judge.
Willie W. brings this action seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision to deny supplemental
security income (SSI). This Court has jurisdiction pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (incorporated by 42 U.S.C. §
1383(c)(3)). I reverse the Commissioner's decision and
remand for an award of benefits.
applied for SSI on May 22, 2012, alleging an onset date of
January 5, 2006. Tr. 189-94. His application was denied
initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 103-06, 110-11. On
November 5, 2014, Plaintiff appeared, with counsel, for a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Tr. 37-65.
On January 15, 2015, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled.
Tr. 10-30. After the Appeals Council denied review, Tr. 1-7,
Plaintiff filed an action in this Court.
August 1, 2017, Magistrate Judge Russo issued an Opinion
& Order reversing the ALJ's decision and remanding
for additional proceedings. Tr. 598-611. Upon remand, the ALJ
conducted a second hearing on February 22, 2018, at which
Plaintiff appeared with counsel. Tr. 565-89. On April 20,
2018, the ALJ again found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr.
543-64. Plaintiff filed a new action in this Court
challenging the second ALJ decision. In response, Defendant
agrees that the case should be remanded. The parties dispute
the nature of the remand.
alleges disability based on having bipolar disorder,
depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and back
pain. Tr. 206. At the time of the second hearing, he was
forty-one years old. Tr. 189 (showing date of birth). He is a
high school graduate, attended some college, and has past
relevant work experience as a recycling laborer, pizzeria
manager, and shipping supervisor. Tr. 207, 278, 290.
claimant is disabled if he or she is 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).
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 plaintiff'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 ...