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Rhonda T. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

May 20, 2019

RHONDA T., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STAT ES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by rejecting her testimony and finding her impairments did not medically equal a listed impairment. Dkt. 9. 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).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently 43 years old, has a high school education, and has worked as a receptionist. Administrative Record (AR) 35, 23. Plaintiff applied for benefits in May 2015, alleging disability as of June 1, 2014. AR 81. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 80, 88. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on June 8, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. AR 29, 15-23.

         II. THE ALJ'S DECISION

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found that, from the alleged onset date of June 1, 2014, to the September 30, 2017, date last insured:

Step one: Plaintiff did not engage in substantial gainful activity.
Step two: Plaintiff had the following severe impairment: migraines.
Step three: Her impairment did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff could perform work at all exertional levels. She could occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She could tolerate occasional exposure to hazards, bright lights, loud noise, vibration, temperature or humidity extremes, and concentrated levels of pulmonary irritants.
Step four: Plaintiff could perform past relevant work as a receptionist and thus was not disabled.
Step five: The ALJ did not reach step five.

AR 17-23. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the ...


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