United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
MICHELLE L. PETERSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
seeks review of the denial of his applications for
Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits. Plaintiff contends the administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) erred in excluding bipolar disorder as a
severe impairment at step two, in discounting an examining
psychologist's opinion, and in finding that he could
perform his past relevant work at step four. (Dkt. # 11 at
1.) As discussed below, the Court REVERSES the
Commissioner's final decision and REMANDS the case for
further administrative proceedings.
was born in 1953, has a college degree and some graduate
education, and has worked as a taxi dispatcher, fast food
driver, personal caregiver, temporary laborer, and concession
worker. AR at 407, 630. Plaintiff was last gainfully employed
in 2015. Id. at 407.
October 2015, Plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging
disability as of August 21, 2015. AR at 380-87.
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on
reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing.
Id. at 290-303, 206-25, 329-20. After the ALJ
conducted a hearing on July 11, 2017 (id. at
201-31), the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not
disabled. Id. at 13-23.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff's lithium toxicity is a severe
Step three: This impairment does not meet or equal the
requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”): Plaintiff
can perform light work with additional limitations: he can
lift/carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently.
He can stand and/or walk six hours in an eight-hour workday.
He can frequently climb ramps and stairs, stoop, and crawl.
He must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold,
vibration, and hazards such as heights and dangerous moving
machinery. He has sufficient concentration, persistence, and
pace for complex and detailed tasks performed in two-hour
increments with usual and customary breaks throuought an
eight-hour workday. He should have only occasional contact
with supervisors and he should not work in coordination with
his co-workers (i.e., he can work in the same room with
co-workers but no coordination of such as in a conveyer belt
situation where the final product is dependent on each
Step four: Plaintiff can perform past relevant work and is
therefore not disabled.
AR at 13-23.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final
decision. AR at 1-7. Plaintiff appealed the ...