United States District Court, D. New Mexico
LAWRENCE R. MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REVERSE OR
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Lawrence
Martinez's Motion to Remand to Agency for
Rehearing. Doc. 16. For the reasons discussed below,
the Court will GRANT Plaintiff's motion and remand this
action to the Commissioner for further proceedings consistent
with this opinion.
February 5, 2013, Plaintiff protectively filed a Title II
application for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits and a Title XVI application for
supplemental security income. AR 17. Plaintiff claimed
disability due to a learning disability. AR 77. Plaintiff
alleged a disability onset date of July 1, 2006. AR 77.
Plaintiff's claims were initially denied on June 10,
2013, and upon reconsideration on September 24, 2013. AR 17.
Plaintiff thereafter filed a written request for a hearing on
November 12, 2013. AR 17. On July 1, 2015, the ALJ entered
his decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. AR 29. On
October 3, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review. AR 1. This appeal followed.
the parties are familiar with the record in this case, the
Court will reserve discussion of Plaintiff's relevant
medical history for its analysis.
Disability Determination Process
claimant is considered disabled for purposes of Social
Security disability insurance benefits if that individual is
unable “to engage in any substantial gainful activity
by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment which can be expected to result in death or 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 Social Security Commissioner has adopted a
five-step sequential analysis to determine whether a person
satisfies these statutory criteria. See 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520. The steps of the analysis are as follows:
(1) Claimant must establish that she is not currently engaged
in “substantial gainful activity.” If claimant is
so engaged, she is not disabled and the analysis stops.
(2) Claimant must establish that she has “a severe
medically determinable physical or mental impairment . . . or
combination of impairments” that has lasted for at
least one year. If claimant is not so impaired, she is not
disabled and the analysis stops.
(3) If claimant can establish that her impairment(s) are
equivalent to a listed impairment that has already been
determined to preclude substantial gainful activity, claimant
is presumed disabled and the analysis stops.
(4) If, however, claimant's impairment(s) are not
equivalent to a listed impairment, claimant must establish
that the impairment(s) prevent her from doing her “past
relevant work.” Answering this question involves three
phases. Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017, 1023 (10th
Cir. 1996). First, the ALJ considers all of the relevant
medical and other evidence and determines what is “the
most [claimant] can still do despite [her physical and
mental] limitations.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(1).
This is called the claimant's residual functional
capacity (“RFC”). Id. §
404.1545(a)(3). Second, the ALJ determines the physical and
mental demands of claimant's past work. Third, the ALJ
determines whether, given claimant's RFC, claimant is
capable of meeting those demands. A claimant who is capable
of returning to past relevant work is not disabled and the
(5) At this point, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to
show that claimant is able to “make an adjustment to
other work.” If the Commissioner is unable to make that
showing, claimant is deemed disabled. If, however, the
Commissioner is able to make the required showing, the
claimant is deemed not disabled.
See 20 C.F.R. § 1520(a)(4); Fischer-Ross v.
Barnhart, 431 F.3d 729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005).