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Ovsepyan v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

August 24, 2017

YURIY N. OVSEPYAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS

          ROBERT J. BRYAN, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Yuriy N. Ovsepyan seeks review of the denial of his application for supplemental security income (“SSI”) benefits. Plaintiff contends that the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred in evaluating the medical evidence, plaintiff's testimony, and the lay witness testimony, and therefore in assessing his residual functional capacity (“RFC”). Dkt. 9 at 2. As discussed below, the Court REVERSES Defendant Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill's (“the Commissioner”) final decision and REMANDS the case for further administrative proceedings.

         BACKGROUND

         On January 10, 2014, plaintiff filed an application for SSI benefits, alleging disability as of September 15, 2008. Dkt. 7, Administrative Record (“AR”) 9. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on April 29, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. AR 9-21.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found:

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 10, 2014, the application date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and headaches.
Step three: Plaintiff's impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Plaintiff has the ability to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations. Plaintiff can perform work in which concentrated exposure to loud noise, fumes, odors, dust, gases, and/or poor ventilation is not present. Further, plaintiff can understand, remember, and carry out unskilled, routine, and repetitive work and can cope with occasional work setting change and occasional interaction with supervisors. Plaintiff can work in proximity to coworkers but not in a team or cooperative effort. Plaintiff can perform work that does not require interaction with the public as an essential element of the job, but occasional incidental contact with the general public is not precluded.
Step four: As plaintiff is capable of performing past relevant work as a janitor, plaintiff has not disabled since January 10, 2014, the date the application was filed.

See AR 9-21. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. See AR 1-4.[3]

         DISCUSSION

         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the Commissioner's denial of social security benefits if the ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 ...


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