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Bonny Q. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

June 10, 2019

BONNY Q., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Michelle L. Peterson United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred by discounting her subjective allegations and failing to recontact certain medical sources to clarify their opinions. (Dkt. # 17 at 1.) As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born in 1951, has a college degree, and has worked as a chemical dependency counselor, chemical dependency instructor, crisis interventionist, police dispatcher, and mental health case manager. AR at 280. Plaintiff was last gainfully employed in January 2015. Id.

         In February 2015, Plaintiff protectively applied for benefits, alleging disability as of January 23, 2015. AR at 254-60. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Id. at 185-87, 192-200. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on April 25, 2017 (id. at 84-151), the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. Id. at 21-33.

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found:

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period between her alleged onset date (January 23, 2015) through her date last insured (“DLI”) of September 30, 2017.
Step two: Through the DLI, Plaintiff's cervical spine degenerative disc/joint disease, lumbar spine degenerative disc/joint disease, and spondylolisthesis were severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment through the DLI.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Through the DLI, Plaintiff could perform sedentary work with additional limitations: she could never climb ladders/ropes/scaffolds and could only occasionally climb ramps/stairs. She could occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. She was limited to only occasional exposure to vibration and extreme cold temperatures. She was limited to only occasional operation of foot controls bilaterally.
Step four: Through the DLI, Plaintiff could perform her past relevant work as a substance abuse counselor and caseworker.

Id. at 21-33.

         As the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision. AR at 1-6. Plaintiff appealed the ...


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