United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S FINAL DECISION
AND DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
seeks review of the denial of her application for Disability
Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by
discounting her mental health testimony, failing to assess
any mental health limitations, and ignoring vocational expert
testimony. Dkt. 13. As discussed below, the Court
AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final
decision and DISMISSES the case with
is currently 58 years old, has a high school education, and
has worked as a cashier and driver. Dkt. 9, Administrative
Record (AR) 54, 112, 39-40. Plaintiff applied for benefits in
September 2012, alleging disability as of March 6, 2012. AR
102. Plaintiff's application was denied initially, on
reconsideration, and by an ALJ decision in October 2013. AR
101, 114, 131-50. The Appeals Council remanded for
reconsideration of mental impairments and obesity. AR 157-59.
After the ALJ conducted a hearing on September 17, 2015, the
ALJ issued a decision in December 2015 finding Plaintiff not
disabled. AR 47, 26-40.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found
that, between the alleged onset date of March 6, 2012, and
the date last insured of September 30, 2015:
Step one: Plaintiff did not engage in
substantial gainful activity.
Step two: Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: lumbar spine degenerative disc disease, post
laminectomy syndrome; mild to moderate left hip degenerative
joint disease/possible trochanteric bursitis; obesity; and a
Step three: These impairments did not meet
or equal the requirements of a listed
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff
could perform light work, lifting, carrying, pushing or
pulling 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. She
could sit or stand/walk for six hours each per day,
frequently balance, kneel, and crouch, occasionally climb
ramps and stairs, stoop, and crawl, but never climb ladders,
ropes, and scaffolds. She had to avoid concentrated exposure
to wetness, vibration, and hazards.
Step four: Plaintiff could perform past
relevant work as a cashier and thus was not disabled.
Step five: The ALJ did not reach step five.
AR 28-40. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the