United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING CASE FOR FURTHER
C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Charles Clyde Ripple III, seeks review of the denial of his
application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB). Plaintiff contends the
ALJ erred in evaluating the medical evidence and his
testimony, and asks the Court to remand for payment of
benefits. Dkt. 10. As discussed below, the Court REVERSES the
Commissioner's final decision and REMANDS the matter for
further administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
is currently 50 years old, has a limited education, and has
worked primarily as a roofer. Tr. 32. In May 2014, plaintiff
applied for benefits, alleging disability as of April 2008.
Tr. 16. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially
and on reconsideration. Id. After the ALJ conducted
a hearing in April 2015, she issued a decision finding
plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 16- 34. In her decision, the ALJ
reopened a prior application that plaintiff had filed April
2011, which had been denied because plaintiff failed to
attend a consultative examination. Tr. 16. Consequently, the
period at issue in this case begins April 2011. Tr. 16. With
respect to the DIB claim only, plaintiff must establish
disability on or before the date last insured of December 31,
2014. Tr. 17. Because neither party contends there was a
substantial change in plaintiff's health since then, the
Court addresses the entire period as a whole.
THE ALJ'S DECISION
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease of
the right knee, anxiety disorder, affective disorder,
personality disorder, and substance addiction disorder.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can
perform light work, lifting and carrying 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, standing/walking four
hours and sitting six hours. He can only occasionally climb
ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He can frequently kneel,
crouch, and crawl. He can only occasionally be exposed to
hazards such as moving mechanical parts and unprotected
heights. He is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive
tasks, simple work-related decisions, occasional interaction
with coworkers, and no interaction with the public.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff
can perform, he is not disabled.
Tr. 19-34. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the
Commissioner's final decision. Tr. 1.