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Palmiter v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

December 4, 2014

JANICE MARIE PALMITER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

For Janice Marie Palmiter, Plaintiff: David A Namba, Beau G. Robey, LAW OFFICE OF STEVEN M ROBEY, BELLINGHAM, WA.

For Carolyn W Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Kerry Jane Keefe, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE (SEA), SEATTLE, WA; Sarah L Martin, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, SEATTLE, WA.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

Mary Alice Theiler, Chief United States Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Janice Marie Palmiter proceeds through counsel in her appeal of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (Commissioner). The Commissioner denied plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) after a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Having considered the ALJ's decision, the administrative record (AR), and all memoranda of record, the Court recommends this matter be REMANDED for further proceedings.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff was born on XXXX, 1955.[1] She has a high school education, an associate degree, and additional college courses. (AR 27.) She has past relevant work as a computer network analyst. (AR 46-47.)

Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on February 12, 2012, alleging disability beginning August 31, 2001. She is insured for DIB through December 31, 2007. (AR 13.) Plaintiff's application was denied at the initial level and on reconsideration, and she timely requested a hearing.

On January 7, 2013, ALJ David J. DeLaittre held a hearing, taking testimony from plaintiff and a vocational expert. (AR 22-52.) On January 31, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled from August 31, 2001 through the date last insured (DLI). (AR 11-16.)

Plaintiff timely appealed. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review on March 24, 2014 (AR 1-4), making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff appealed this final decision of the Commissioner to this Court.

JURISDICTION

The Court has jurisdiction to review the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

DISCUSSION

The Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining whether a claimant is disabled. See 20 C.F.R. § § 404.1520, 416.920 (2000). At step one, it must be determined whether the claimant is gainfully employed. The ALJ found plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date through the DLI. At step two, it must be determined whether a claimant suffers from a severe impairment. The ALJ found plaintiff's scoliosis was a medically determinable impairment, but not severe within the meaning of the Act. The ALJ found plaintiff's alleged depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorder not medically determinable.

Finding no severe impairment at step two, the ALJ did not proceed through the additional steps of the sequential evaluation. The ALJ found plaintiff not disabled ...


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