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Flaherty v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

June 28, 2018

RENA RAE FLAHERTY, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Operations, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER'S FINAL DECISION

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Rena Rae Flaherty, seeks review of the denial of her application for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by rejecting her testimony on the severity of her symptoms. Dkt. 7. As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently 38 years old, has a high school education, and has worked as a teller, real estate clerk, mortgage loan processor, and clerk. Tr. 26-27. On November 5, 2013, plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging disability as of June 30, 2010, later amended to January 19, 2015. Tr. 20. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 20. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on April 19, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 20-28.

         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 the amended alleged onset date of January 19, 2015.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder and history of substance abuse including heroin addiction on suboxone.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, except she can never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds and must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards. Plaintiff can perform simple, routine tasks.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform, plaintiff is not disabled.

         Tr. 22-28. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the ...


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