United States District Court, D. Oregon
MARLENE R. YESQUEN Attorney for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney
MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief Counsel KATHERINE B.
WATSON Special Assistant United States Attorney Social
Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
Elizabeth G. seeks judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in
which he denied Plaintiff's application for Child
Insurance Benefits (CIB) under Title II of the Social
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the
Commissioner and DISMISSES this matter.
filed an application for CIB on August 12, 2014, alleging a
disability onset date of September 21, 1987. Tr.
The application was denied initially and on reconsideration.
An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on May 3,
2017, and a second hearing on October 3, 2017. Tr. 58-93,
94-99. Plaintiff appeared without her attorney at the first
hearing and with her attorney at the second hearing.
Plaintiff, Plaintiff's mother, and a vocational expert
(VE) testified at the second hearing.
issued a decision on November 8, 2017, in which he found
Plaintiff was not disabled before she was 22 years old and,
therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 23-38. Pursuant
to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d), that decision became the
final decision of the Commissioner on November 13, 2018, when
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review. Tr. 1-6. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103,
was born on September 21, 1987; was 29 years old at the time
of the first hearing; and was 30 years old at the time of the
second hearing. Tr. 113. Plaintiff has a college degree. Tr.
66. The ALJ found Plaintiff does not have any past relevant
work experience. Tr. 51.
alleges disability during the relevant period due to
"cognitive disorder; right frontal ventriculostomy;
expressive language disorder; visual processing disorder;
history of seizure disorder; one episode of status epilepsy;
visual spacial disorder; [and] auditory processing
disorder." Tr. 114.
when noted, Plaintiff does not challenge the ALJ's
summary of the medical evidence. After carefully reviewing
the medical records, this Court adopts the ALJ's summary
of the medical evidence. See Tr. 47-49.
initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish
disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110
(9thCir. 2012). To meet this burden, a claimant
must demonstrate her inability "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).
The ALJ must develop the record when there is ambiguous
evidence or when the record is inadeguate to allow for proper
evaluation of the evidence. McLeod v. Astrue, 640
F.3d 881, 885 (9th Cir. 2011) (guoting Mayes
v. Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459-60 (9th Cir.
district 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 as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See also Brewes v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th
Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is "relevant evidence
that a reasonable mind might accept as adeguate to support a
conclusion." Molina, 674 F.3d. at 1110-11 (guoting
Valentine v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 51A F.3d
685, 690 (9th Cir. 2009)). "It is more than a
mere scintilla [of evidence] but less than a
preponderance." Id. (citing Valentine, 574 F.3d
is responsible for determining credibility, resolving
conflicts in the medical evidence, and resolving ambiguities.
Vasquez v. Astrue, 572 F.3d 586, 591 (9th
Cir. 2009). The court must weigh all of the evidence whether
it supports or detracts from the Commissioner's decision.
Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 528 F.3d 1194, 1198
(9th Cir. 2008). Even when the evidence is
susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the
court must uphold the Commissioner's findings if they are
supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the record.
Ludwig v. Astrue, 681 F.3d 1047, 1051
(9th Cir. 2012). The court may not substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner. Widmark v.
Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1070 (9th Cir.
Regulatory Sequential Evaluation
claimant to be entitled to child insurance benefit, she must
establish she "is under a disability [as defined within
the meaning of the Social Security Act] which began before
[s]he attained the age of 22." 42 U.S.C.A. §
Commissioner has developed a five-step seguential inquiry to
determine whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning
of the Act. Parra v. Astrue, 481 F.3d 742, 746
(9th Cir. 2007). See also 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. Each step is potentially dispositive.
One the claimant is not disabled if the Commissioner
determines the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful
activity. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a) (4) (I) . See also
Keyser v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 648 F.3d 721, 724
(9th Cir. 2011).
Two the claimant is not disabled if the Commissioner
determines the claimant does not have any medically severe
impairment or combination of impairments. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1509, 404.1520(a)(4)(ii). See also
Keyser, 648 F.3d at 724.
Three the claimant is disabled if the Commissioner determines
the claimant's impairments meet or equal one of the
listed impairments that the Commissioner acknowledges are so
severe as to preclude substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(a) (4) (iii) . See also Keyser, 648
F.3d at 724. The criteria for the listed impairments, known
as Listings, are enumerated in 20 C.F.R. part 404, subpart P,
appendix 1 (Listed Impairments).
Commissioner proceeds beyond Step Three, he must assess the
claimant's residual functional capacity (RFC). The
claimant's RFC is an assessment of the sustained,
work-related physical and mental activities the claimant can
still do on a regular and continuing basis despite her
limitations. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e). See also Social
Security Ruling (SSR) 96-8p. "A 'regular and
continuing basis' means 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week,
or an equivalent schedule." SSR 96-8p, at *1. In other
words, the Social Security Act does not require complete
incapacity to be ...