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Jasmin V. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

July 31, 2019

JASMIN V., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MICHELLE L. PETERSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of his applications for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred by finding his ankle impairment to be nonsevere at step two, and in discounting the opinions of Harold Lee, M.D. (Dkt. # 11.) As discussed below, the Court RECOMMENDS that the Commissioner's final decision be AFFIRMED and this matter DISMISSED with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born in 1967 and has a college education. AR at 203. Plaintiff previously worked as a police officer in Bosnia/Herzogovina, and as a home health care provider, human services counselor, and patient transporter in the United States. Id. at 202-03, 239. He was last gainfully employed in 2010. Id.

         In December 2014, Plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging disability as of March 31, 2010. AR at 66, 183-84. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Id. at 103-10, 113-27. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on April 21, 2017 (id. at 37-64), the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. Id. at 17-29.

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

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff's obesity, residual groin pain status post hernia repair and right orchiectomy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease status post heart bypass surgery, hypertension, and lumbar degenerative disc disease and compression deformities are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can perform light work with additional limitations: he can lift/carry/push/pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He can sit up to six hours in an eight-hour workday, and stand and walk six hours total in an eight-hour workday. He is limited to occasional climbing of ladders and scaffolds, and crawling. He can perform other postural activities on a frequent basis. He cannot work around hazards such as unprotected heights and heavy operating machinery, and cannot operate a motor vehicle. He needs to avoid concentrated exposure to humidity and wetness, extreme cold and extreme heat, and would not be able to work around machinery causing vibrations.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform, ...

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