United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
MICHELLE L. PETERSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
seeks review of the denial of her application for
Supplemental Security Income. Plaintiff contends the
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred in
crediting a non-examining physician’s opinion over
opinions written by a treating physician. (Dkt. # 10 at 1.)
As discussed 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. § 405(g).
was born in 1984, has one year of college education and
vocational training as a nursing assistant and medical
assistant, and has worked as a nursing assistant and fitness
assistant. AR at 197, 446. Plaintiff was last employed in
mid-2017. Id. at 199.
September 2015, Plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging
disability as of February 19, 2004. AR at 216, 378-83.
Plaintiff’s application was denied initially and on
reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing.
Id. at 228-36, 240-49. After the ALJ conducted a
hearing on April 17, 2018 (id. at 181-207), the ALJ
issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled.
Id. at 164-74.
Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process,
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since September 10, 2015, the application date.
Step two: Plaintiff’s lumbar spine degenerative disc
disease, status-post multiple lumbar spine surgeries,
including disc replacement, removal, and fusion, is a severe
Step three: This impairment does not meet or equal the
requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”): Plaintiff
can lift/carry 10 pounds occasionally and frequently. She can
stand/walk two hours and sit for six hours, out of an
eight-hour workday. She can occasionally climb ramps and
stairs, but cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She
can frequently balance. She can occasionally stoop, kneel,
and crouch. She can never crawl. She must avoid moderate
exposure to vibrations and hazards, such as moving machinery
and unprotected heights.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform,