United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER AFFIRMING DENIAL OF BENEFITS
L. ROBART, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ashley H. seeks review of the denial of her applications for
supplemental security income and disability insurance
benefits. (See Compl. (Dkt. # 3).) Plaintiff contends that
the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred by (1)
improperly rejecting Plaintiff's symptom testimony, (2)
improperly evaluating the medical evidence, (3) improperly
evaluating the lay witness testimony, and (4) improperly
assessing Plaintiff's residual functional capacity and
performing step five of the disability evaluation. (Pl. Op.
Br. (Dkt. # 12) at 1.) As discussed below, the court AFFIRMS
the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES this case
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 18, 2015, the alleged onset date.
See 20 C.F.R §§ 404.1571-76, 416.971-76.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments:
Asthma, bilateral knee patellar dysfunction, fibromyalgia.
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,
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”): Plaintiff
can perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a). She can lift and/or
carry 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds
frequently. She can stand and/or walk for two hours in an
eight-hour work day. She can sit for six hours in an
eight-hour work day. She can occasionally use foot controls
bilaterally. She can occasionally climb ramps and stairs,
balance, stoop, crouch, and kneel. She cannot climb ladders,
ropes, or scaffolds, and cannot crawl. She can occasionally
tolerate exposure to vibration, temperature extremes,
humidity extremes, and concentrated levels of dusts, fumes,
gases, odors, and pulmonary irritants.
Step four: Plaintiff has no 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 existed 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 25-37.) The
ALJ thus found that Plaintiff had not been under a
disability, as defined by the Social Security Act
(“Act”), from September 18, 2015, through the
date of the ALJ's decision. (Id. at 37.) The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
making the ALJ's decision final. (See Id. at
as the claimant, bears the burden of proving that she 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 set aside a denial of
social security benefits only 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 ...