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Eldonna B. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

August 9, 2019

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

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISIONER'S FINAL DECISION AND DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE

          MARSHA J. PECHMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff 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.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff 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 ALJ'S DECISION

         Utilizing 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 date.
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 disorder.
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 relevant work.
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 ...


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