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Kaelin v. Berryhill

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

September 11, 2017

CHANCE C. KAELIN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS

          JAMES L. ROBART United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Chance C. Kaelin seeks review of the denial of his application for supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits. Mr, Kaelin contends that the Administrative Law Judge ('ALJ") erred in evaluating the medical evidence in the record. (Op. Br. (Dkt. # 7) at 1.) Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law, the court AFFIRMS Defendant Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill's ("the Commissioner") final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On December 23, 2013, Mr. Kaelin protectively filed an application for SSI benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") (Dkt, # 5) at 11.) Mr. Kaelin's application was denied initially and on reconsideration, (Id.) After the ALJ conducted a hearing on August 7, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Mr. Kaelin not disabled. (Id. at 11-27.)

         In her decision, the ALJ utilized the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] and the court summarizes the ALJ's findings as follows:

Step one: Mr, Kaelin has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 13, 2013, the amended alleged onset date of disability.
Step two: Mr. Kaelin has the following severe impairments: depression, anxiety, substance addiction, and asthma.
Step three: Mr. Kaelin does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Mr. Kaelin has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations. He must avoid concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants and hazards such as unprotected heights and moving machinery. He can perform simple tasks. He can adapt to occasional changes in work setting. He can have superficial, infrequent contact with the public. He can work in proximity to co-workers and interact with them briefly but performs better in more solitary work settings.
Step four: Mr. Kaelin has no past relevant work.
Step five: Because jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Mr. Kaelin can perform, he has not been disabled since December 23, 2013, the amended alleged onset date of disability.

(See id.) The Appeals Council denied Mr. Kaelin's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision, [ ...


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