United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION TO
Theresa L. Fricke United States Magistrate Judge.
has brought this matter for judicial review of
defendant's denial of his application for supplemental
security income (SSI) benefits. The parties have consented to
have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge.
28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73;
Local Rule MJR 13. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
finds the decision to deny benefits should be affirmed.
November 24, 2013, plaintiff filed an application for SSI
benefits, alleging he became disabled beginning July 30,
2013. Dkt. 10, Administrative Record (AR) 21. That
application was denied on initial administrative review and
on reconsideration. Id. A hearing was held before an
administrative law judge (ALJ), at which plaintiff appeared
and testified as did a vocational expert. AR 43-73.
decision dated July 24, 2015, the ALJ found that plaintiff
could perform other jobs existing in significant numbers in
the national economy and therefore that he was not disabled.
AR 21-37. Plaintiff's request for review was denied by
the Appeals Council, making the ALJ's decision the final
decision of the Commissioner, which plaintiff then appealed
in a complaint filed with this Court on March 23, 2017. AR 1;
Dkt. 3; 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.
seeks reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand for an
award of benefits, or in the alternative for further
administrative proceedings, arguing the ALJ erred:
(1) in failing to find his headaches are a severe impairment;
(2) in failing to find any of his impairments met a listed
(3) in assessing plaintiff's residual functional
reasons set forth below, however, the Court disagrees that
the ALJ erred as alleged, and therefore affirms the decision
to deny benefits.
STANDARD AND SCOPE OF REVIEW
Commissioner employs a five-step “sequential evaluation
process” to determine whether a claimant is disabled.
20 C.F.R. § 416.920. If the claimant is found disabled
or not disabled at any step thereof, the disability
determination is made at that step, and the sequential
evaluation process ends. Id. The Court will uphold
an ALJ's decision unless: (1) the decision is based on
legal error; or (2) the decision is not supported by
substantial evidence. Revels v. Berryhill, No.
15-16477, slip op. at 7 (9th Cir. Oct. 26, 2017).
Substantial evidence is “'such relevant evidence as
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'” Trevizo v. Berryhill, 871
F.3d 664, 674 (9th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Desrosiers v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 846 F.2d 573, 576 (9th Cir. 1988)).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla of evidence yet
less than a preponderance of the evidence. Id.
than one rational interpretation can be drawn from the
evidence, the ALJ's decision must be upheld. Orn v.
Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007).
The Court must consider the administrative record as a whole.
Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009
(9th Cir. 2014). The Court is required to weigh
both the evidence that supports, and evidence that does not
support, the ALJ's decision. Id. The Court may
not affirm the decision of the ALJ for a reason upon which
the ALJ did not rely; the Court's scope of review is
confined to the reasons identified by the ALJ. Id.
The Plaintiff's Contention re: ALJ's Step Two
in this case found plaintiff had a number of severe
impairments, but determined that plaintiff's headaches
did not qualify as severe for purposes of step two. AR 23.