United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION & ORDER
A. HERNÁNDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
brings this action for judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision denying his application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act. The Court has jurisdiction
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (incorporated by 42
U.S.C. § 1382(c)(3)). Because the Commissioner's
decision is free of legal error and supported by substantial
evidence in the record, the Court AFFIRMS the decision and
DISMISSES this case.
was born on November 26, 1956 and was fifty-eight years old
on April 23, 2015, the alleged disability onset date. Tr.
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social
Security Act (“SSA” or “Act”) through
December 31, 2020. Tr. 17. Plaintiff has at least a high
school education and is able to perform past relevant work as
a truck driver. Tr. 25-26. Plaintiff claims he is disabled
based on asthma. Tr. 67.
benefits application was denied initially on July 1, 2015,
and upon reconsideration on November 16, 2015. Tr. 15. A
hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Rudolph
Murgo on June 8, 2017. Tr. 15. ALJ Murgo issued a written
decision on August 9, 2017, finding that Plaintiff was not
disabled and therefore not entitled to benefits. Tr. 15-27.
The Appeals Council declined review, rendering ALJ
Murgo's decision the Commissioner's final decision.
claimant is disabled if he 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). Disability claims are evaluated according to a
five-step procedure. Valentine v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009). The claimant
bears the ultimate burden of proving disability. Id.
one, 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). At 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 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. At 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 its burden and proves that the
claimant is able to perform other work which exists in the
national economy, the claimant is not disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1566, 416.966.
one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the alleged disability
onset date. Tr. 17.
two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had “the
following severe impairments: asthma, obesity.” Tr. 17.
The ALJ determined that Plaintiff's anxiety was not
severe. Tr. 17.
three, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have any
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the ...