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Brian C. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

June 4, 2019

BRIAN C., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION

          BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. He contends the ALJ erred in discounting certain medical opinions and discounting his own subjective testimony.[1] Dkt. 12. 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).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently 44 years old, has a high school diploma with additional training in computer programming and data entry, and has worked as a fast-food cashier, hospital aide, retail/warehouse truck driver, and hotel night auditor. Tr. 344-45. In June 2014, he protectively applied for benefits, alleging disability as of May 9, 2014. Tr. 314-26. His applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 212-18, 221-31. The ALJ conducted a hearing on December 5, 2016 (Tr. 91-122), and a supplemental hearing on July 12, 2017 (Tr. 123-31), and subsequently found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 17-32. As the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision. Tr. 1-6.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [2] the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 9, 2014.
Step two: Plaintiff's major depressive disorder and social anxiety disorder are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
RFC: Plaintiff can perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, but has the following additional limitations: he can understand, remember, and apply information sufficiently to carry out tasks with a General Education Development reasoning level of 2 or less. He can work in a setting with no public contact and occasional coworker contact. He can work in a routine setting with few changes.
Step four: Plaintiff could not perform his past work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform, he is not disabled.

Tr. ...


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