Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Joseph B. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

July 15, 2019

JOSEPH B., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING DENIAL OF BENEFITS

          JAMES L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Joseph B. seeks review of the denial of his applications for supplemental security income and disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff contends that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred by failing to find that Plaintiff suffered a severe impairment of panic disorder at step two of the disability evaluation process, and by failing to properly evaluate Plaintiff's testimony regarding the side effects of his medications and the functional impact of his headaches. (Pl. Op. Br. (Dkt. # 11) at 1-2.) Plaintiff also argues that the Appeals Council erred in evaluating a letter from Plaintiff's wife submitted after the ALJ's decision, which related to Plaintiff's headache symptoms. (Id. at 11-12.) As discussed below, the court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision and DISMISSES this case with prejudice.

         II. THE ALJ'S DECISION

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920, the ALJ found:

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 22, 2014, the alleged onset date. See 20 C.F.R §§ 404.1571-76, 416.971-76.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: Obesity, tinnitus, chronic back pain with no objective findings, mild osteoarthritis, migraine and other headaches, depression not otherwise specified, and anxiety disorder. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c).
Step three: Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925, 416.926.
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”): Plaintiff can perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). He can lift 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He can sit, stand, and walk each for six hours in an eight-hour workday. He can occasionally climb ladders, ropes, scaffolds, ramps, and stairs. He can occasionally stoop, crouch, crawl, and kneel. He can have no exposure to extreme cold, and occasional exposure to noise, inhaled irritants, and hazards. He can understand, remember, and apply information to complete simple and detailed tasks in a setting with few changes, no public contact, and no teamwork assignments.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past relevant work. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1565, 416.965.
Step five: Considering Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969, 416.969(a).

(Admin. Record (“AR”) (Dkt. # 7) at 18-31.) Based on these findings, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the Social Security Act (“Act”), from September 22, 2014, through the date of the ALJ's decision. (Id. at 30-31.) The Appeals Council considered additional evidence Plaintiff submitted after the ALJ's decision, including medical records from the VA Medical Center, and a letter from Plaintiff's wife. (See Id. at 2.) The Appeals Council determined that this evidence “d[id] not show a reasonable probability that it would change the outcome of the [disability] decision, ” and denied Plaintiff's request for review. (See Id. at 1-4.)

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff bears the burden of proving he is disabled within the meaning of the Act. See Meanel v. Apfel, 172 F.3d 1111, 1113 (9th Cir. 1999). Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the court may only set aside a denial of social security benefits when the ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 (9th Cir. 2005). The ALJ is responsible for determining credibility, resolving conflicts in medical testimony, and resolving any other ambiguities that exist. Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 1995). Although the court is required ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.