United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISIONER'S FINAL DECISION
AND DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE
J. PECHMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
seeks review of the partial denial of her application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security
Income (SSI). Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by finding her
capable of light, rather than sedentary, work and by failing
to address her absenteeism due to medical appointments. Dkt.
9. As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the
Commissioner's final decision and
DISMISSES the case with prejudice.
is currently 55 years old, has a high school education, and
has worked as a retail sales and stock worker, cashier, and
outreach worker. Dkt. 9, Admin. Record (AR) 165, 58. Her date
last insured, for purposes of DIB, was June 30, 2012. AR 42.
Plaintiff applied for benefits in February 2014, alleging
disability as of May 25, 2011. AR 165. Plaintiff's
applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. AR
163, 164, 187, 188. After the ALJ conducted hearings in
August and December 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff disabled beginning June 1, 2013. AR 100, 72, 40-61.
the five-step disability evaluation process outlined in 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920, the ALJ found that,
before the June 1, 2013, established onset Dated:
Step one: Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the May 2011 alleged onset
Step two: Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: history of degenerative disc disease with facet
hypertrophy, bilateral hearing loss, breast carcinoma, human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV), morbid obesity, and affective
Step three: These impairments did not meet
or equal the requirements of a listed impairment found in 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff
could perform light work, further limited to standing and/or
walking one to two hours at a time and four hours total per
day. She could sit two hours at a time and six hours total.
She required an option to alternate sitting and standing. She
could occasionally bend, stoop, and kneel. She could crouch,
squat, and crawl less than occasionally. She could not
operate foot controls. She could not tolerate fast-paced
production demands. She could not tolerate dangerous
industrial settings, unprotected heights, ladders, or toxic
levels of fumes, odors, or gases. Her work environment needed
to allow the use of hearing aids. She required a well-defined
routine provided in advance with few changes in a work
setting or routine. She could do basic high school level
calculations. She could engage in only routine and
perfunctory social interactions.
Step four: Plaintiff could not perform past
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
could have performed, she was not disabled.
AR 43-61. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the