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Rosaline A. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 20, 2019

ROSALINE A., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          THERESA L. FRICKE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff has brought this matter for judicial review of defendant's denial of her application for benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The parties have consented to have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge.

         I. ISSUES FOR REVIEW

         1. Did the ALJ err in failing to consider plaintiff's migraines and vertigo at step two and when assessing her residual functional capacity?

         2. Was the ALJ's discounting of plaintiff's allegations about the severity and functional impact of her mental impairments based on specific, clear, and convincing reasons when the record is considered as a whole?

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income benefits on May 1, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of January 1, 2014. Dkt. 8, Administrative Record (AR) 114. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. After a hearing, (AR 32), an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that plaintiff was not disabled. AR 11.

         The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. AR 1. Plaintiff filed a complaint with this Court, seeking reversal and remand for an award of benefits.

         III. THE ALJ'S DECISION

         Using the five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found (AR 16-26):

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application date.
Step two: Plaintiff has these severe impairments: Disorders of the back; degenerative joint disease; affective/depressive disorder; attention deficit disorder (ADD) vs. attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual functional capacity (RFC): The ALJ found that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as ...

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