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Chambers v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

August 28, 2017

APRIL LYNN CHAMBERS, 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 April Lynn Chambers seeks review of the denial of her application for supplemental security income (“SSI”) benefits. Plaintiff contends that the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred in evaluating the medical evidence and therefore in assessing her residual functional capacity (“RFC”). Dkt. 7 at 1. 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 February 18, 2010, plaintiff filed an application for SSI benefits, alleging disability as of October 1, 1999. Dkt. 5, Administrative Record (“AR”) 901. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. Plaintiff was twice denied benefits after hearings held in 2012 and 2015. Id. Both of those decisions denying plaintiff benefits were reversed and remanded by this Court. Id. After the ALJ conducted a third hearing on October 21, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. AR 901-27.

         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 February 18, 2010, the application date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, history of kidney stones, and back pain.
Step three: Plaintiff's impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Plaintiff has the RFC to perform medium work. She is able to perform simple, routine tasks in work that involves no more than occasional contact with coworkers, no team building or collaborative decision-making, no more than occasional public contact, no customer service sales or counter-type jobs, and no high-paced manufacturing-style production. The claimant must be able to control her own workflow during the workday, and her work must require no more than routine or occasional adaptation to changes.
Step four: Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform, plaintiff has not disabled since February 18, 2010, the application date.

See AR 901-27. It does not appear from the record that the Appeals Council assumed jurisdiction of the case. See 20 ...


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