Gutierrez v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 01-23-2014
  • Case #: 12-15472
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Trott for the Court; Circuit Judge Murguia, District Judge Ezra
  • Full Text Opinion

For purposes of determining Social Security Supplemental Benefits, it is not error for an Administrative Law Judge to define “region” as the State of California, nor is it error to find 2,500 jobs in that region to be a “significant” number of jobs.

Carlos Gutierrez appealed the district court’s order affirming the Administrative Law Judge’s (“ALJ”) order denying claims for supplemental social security. During the initial proceeding, the ALJ conducted the five-step sequential evaluation process required under 20 C.F.R. §416.920, but concluded that at the final step, “Gutierrez did not suffer from a disability because he could perform a significant number of jobs in the national economy.” On appeal, Gutierrez raised only one issue of whether the ALJ failed to make an adequate showing that a significant number of jobs existed in the region where Gutierrez resided. The Commissioner had not yet defined the term “region” as used in the statute. Gutierrez argued that “region” should be defined sued the Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas delineated by the Office of Management and Budget, or that “region” means the immediate area where the claimant resides/ The ALJ in the initial proceeding held “region” to be the state of California. The Ninth Circuit held Gutierrez arguments to be flawed and that the term “region” may include an entire state. Further the panel held that 2,500 job in California did constitute a significant amount of work available and that the AJ did not err in that finding. AFFIRMED.

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