United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Honorable Candy W. Dale, United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is Christopher Jones's Petition for
Review of the Respondent's denial of social security
benefits. (Dkt. 1.) The Court has reviewed the Petition for
Review and the Answer, the parties' memoranda, and the
administrative record (AR), and for the reasons that follow,
will affirm the decision of the Commissioner.
AND FACTUAL HISTORY
filed a Title II application for Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income on January 2, 2014,
alleging disability beginning July 15, 2008. This application
was denied initially and on reconsideration, and a hearing
was conducted on March 28, 2016, before Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) Jesse Shumway. After hearing testimony from
Petitioner, from medical expert Harold Milstein, M.D., and
from vocational expert Thomas Polsin, ALJ Shumway issued a
decision on April 21, 2016, finding Petitioner not disabled.
(AR 12-17.) Petitioner requested review by the Appeals
Council, which denied his request for review on March 3,
appealed this final decision to the Court. The Court has
jurisdiction to review the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
time of the March 28, 2016 hearing, Petitioner was
forty-eight years of age. Petitioner completed high school
and two years of college, and his prior work experience
includes work as a drafter, shipping and receiving clerk,
bicycle assembler, cabinet assembler, and noodle maker. He
alleged disability because of mental health conditions;
extreme anxiety; severe, painful, and debilitating chronic
head injury; chronic homelessness; learning disability;
severe depression; and head trauma injury. (AR 162.)
Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation for
determining whether a claimant is disabled. See 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. At step one, it must
be determined whether the claimant is engaged in substantial
gainful activity. The ALJ found Petitioner had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity after his alleged onset date of
July 15, 2008. At step two, it must be determined whether the
claimant suffers from a severe impairment. The ALJ found
Petitioner did not meet his burden of establishing that he
had a medically determinable impairment at step two.
Accordingly, the ALJ found Petitioner not disabled and did
not proceed to consider steps three through five.
bears the burden of showing that disability benefits are
proper because of the 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); see also 42 U.S.C. §
1382c(a)(3)(A); Rhinehart v. Finch, 438 F.2d 920,
921 (9th Cir. 1971). An individual will be determined to be
disabled only if his physical or mental impairments are of
such severity that he not only cannot do her previous work
but is unable, considering his age, education, and work
experience, to engage in any other kind of substantial
gainful work which exists in the national economy. 42 U.S.C.
review, the Court is instructed to uphold the decision of the
Commissioner if the decision is supported by substantial
evidence and is not the product of legal error. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Universal Camera Corp. v. Nat'l Labor
Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 474 (1951); Meanel v.
Apfel, 172 F.3d 1111, 1113 (9th Cir. 1999) (as amended);
DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir.
1991). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971). It is more than a scintilla but less than a
preponderance, Jamerson v Chater, 112 F.3d 1064,
1066 (9th Cir. 1997), and “does not mean a large or
considerable amount of evidence.” Pierce v.
Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 565 (1988).
Court cannot disturb the Commissioner's findings if they
are supported by substantial evidence, even though other
evidence may exist that supports the petitioner's claims.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Flaten v. Sec'y of Health
& Human Servs., 44 F.3d 1453, 1457 (9th Cir. 1995).
Thus, findings of the Commissioner as to any fact, if
supported by substantial evidence, will be conclusive.
Flaten, 44 F.3d at 1457. It is well-settled that, if
there is substantial evidence to support the decision of the
Commissioner, the decision must be upheld even when the
evidence can reasonably support either affirming or reversing