United States District Court, D. Oregon
STUART GRAF Alan Graf, Attorney at Law Of Attorney for
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney District of Oregon, MARTHA BODEN
Special Assistant United States Attorney Office of the
General Counsel Social Security Administration Of Attorney
OPINION AND ORDER
V. ACOSTA, United States Magistrate Judge.
C. ("Plaintiff) seeks judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration ("Commissioner") denying her
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income
("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social
Security Act ("Act"). This court has jurisdiction
to review the Commissioner's decision pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). Based on a careful review of the
record, the Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
applied for DIB and SSI on December 31, 2013, alleging a
disability onset date of November 6, 2013, due to brain
injury/post-concussive disorder. (Tr. 16, 218.) Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") Katherine Weatherly, who conducted an
administrative hearing on January 25, 2017. (Tr. 35-57.) The
ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled on March
1, 2017. (Tr. 16-30.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs
request for review on February 22, 2018, making the ALJ's
decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-6.)
This appeal followed.
December 1954, Plaintiff was 59 years old on her alleged
onset date. (Tr. 287.) She completed two years of college.
(Tr. 219.) Plaintiff previously worked as a bookkeeper for a
temp agency, and as a tutor. (Tr. 219.)
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. Hammock
v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989). Substantial
evidence is "more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consol
Edison Co. v. N.L.R.B., 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The
court must weigh "both the evidence that supports and
detracts from the [Commissioner's] conclusions."
Martinez v. Heckler, 807 F.2d 771, 772 (9th Cir.
1986). "Where the evidence as a whole can support either
a grant or a denial, [a court] may not substitute [its]
judgment for the ALJ's." Massachi v.
Astrue, 486 F.3d 1149, 1152 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation
initial burden of proof rests upon the claimant to establish
disability. Howard v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1484, 1486
(9th Cir. 1986). To meet this burden, the claimant must
demonstrate an "inability to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected ... to
last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowenv.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140(1987);20C.F.R.
§§404.1520, 416.920. At step one, the Commissioner
determines whether the claimant is engaged in
"substantial gainful activity." Yuckert,
482 U.S. at 140; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b),
416.920(b). If so, she is not disabled.
two, the Commissioner evaluates 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 the claimant
does not have a severe impairment, she is not disabled.
three, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant's
impairments, either individually 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, she is presumptively disabled; if not, the
Commissioner proceeds to step four. Yuckert, 482
U.S. at 141.
four, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant can
still perform "past relevant work." 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(f), 416.920(f). If the claimant can
perform past relevant work, she is not disabled; if she
cannot, the burden shifts to the Commissioner.
five, the Commissioner must establish the claimant can
perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national or local economy. Yuckert, 482 U.S. at
141-42; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(g), 416.920(g). If
the Commissioner meets this burden, the claimant is not
disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1566, 416.966.