United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER'S FINAL
A. TSUCHIDA, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
seeks review of the denial of her applications for
Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits. She contends the ALJ erred in assessing her
testimony, the medical opinions, and lay
statements. Dkt. 12 at 2. For the reasons below, the
Court REVERSES the Commissioner's final
decision and REMANDS the matter for further
administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C.
is currently 49 years old, has a ninth-grade education, and
has worked as a fast food worker and manager, and an in-home
caregiver. Tr. 47-48, 51-52, 317. In June 2015, she applied
for benefits, alleging disability as of December 21,
2011. Tr. 102-03, 282-94. Her applications were
denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 170-73, 179-90.
The ALJ conducted a hearing on August 15, 2017 (Tr. 37-101),
and subsequently found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 15-31. As
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's
final decision. Tr. 1-6.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the amended alleged onset
Step two: Plaintiff's post-traumatic
stress disorder, neurocognitive disorder, major depressive
disorder, and status-post brain aneurysm are severe
Step three: These impairments did not meet
or equal the requirements of a listed
RFC: Plaintiff can perform light work with
additional limitations: she can occasionally climb ramps and
stairs, and can never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds.
She can occasionally balance and crawl. She can tolerate
occasional exposure to vibration, hazards (such as open
water, flames, and heights), and temperature and humidity
extremes. She can understand, remember, and apply short and
simple instructions while performing routine, predictable
tasks in an environment that is not fast-paced. She can make
simple work-related decisions. She can tolerate occasional
workplace changes. She can have occasional interaction with
the general public and co-workers.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform her past
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
can perform, she is not disabled.