United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S FINAL
S. ZILLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Acosta seeks review of the denial of her application for
Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits. Ms. Acosta contends the ALJ erred in “(1)
failing to develop the record given the lack of any
functional assessments completed by treating or examining
sources and (2) finding that [Mr. Acosta's] …
allegations were not fully credible.” Dkt. 12 at 1. Ms.
Acosta argues that these errors impacted the residual
functional capacity (RFC) determination and the ALJ's
findings at step four and five of the sequential evaluation
process. Id. Ms. Acosta contends this case should be
remanded for further administrative proceedings. Dkt. 12 at
2, 17. As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the
Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with
29, 2011, Ms. Acosta applied for benefits, alleging
disability as of December 24, 2009. Tr. 703, 199-206. Ms.
Acosta's applications were denied initially and on
reconsideration and, after a hearing, the Administrative Law
Judge [ALJ] issued an unfavorable decision on December 12,
2012. Tr. 19-30, 703. The Appeals Council denied review. Tr.
1-4, 703. By order dated October 16, 2014, the district court
vacated and remanded the case directing the ALJ to reevaluate
the opinion of David Widlan, Ph.D., reassess the residual
functional capacity (RFC), and take additional vocational
expert testimony as necessary. Tr. 703, 856-68. After the ALJ
conducted a second hearing on November 5, 2015, the ALJ
issued a decision on March 7, 2016, again finding Ms. Acosta
not disabled. Tr. 703-725.
Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process,
Step one: Ms. Acosta has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 24, 2009, the alleged onset date.
Step two: Ms. Acosta has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disk disease of the cervical and lumbar spine,
ankle fracture, headaches, depression, personality disorder,
generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder,
and moderate obesity.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the
requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity: Ms. Acosta can perform light
work as defined in 20 C.F.R 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b)
including the following: lift and/or carry 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; stand or walk for
approximately six hours and sit for approximately six hours
per eight hour workday with normal breaks; occasionally climb
ramps or stairs, but never ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
frequently handle and finger; occasionally reach overhead;
superficial interaction with co-workers with no requirement
for team work or collaborative problem solving; occasional
interaction with supervisors, as she could respond
appropriately to supervisors; and incidental interaction with
Step four: Ms. Acosta can perform past relevant work and, as
such, is not disabled.
Step five: With respect to the period prior to Ms.
Acosta's turning 55 in 2013, the ALJ makes the
alternative finding that there were also jobs that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that Ms. Acosta
could perform. As such, she was not disabled during that
period on this basis as well.
Tr. 703-725. Ms. Acosta now seeks judicial review of the
ALJ's March 7, ...