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Jackson v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 24, 2019

GREGORY J., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          MICHELLE L. PETERSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of his applications for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred by discounting his subjective testimony and in formulating the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) assessment and hypothetical posed to the vocational expert (“VE”). (Dkt. # 14.) As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner’s final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born in 1968, has an 11th-grade education, and has worked as a janitor, office clerk, and trailer unloader. AR at 136, 293. Plaintiff was last gainfully employed in 2015. Id. at 293.

         In December 2015, Plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging disability as of February 15, 2015. AR at 269-76. Plaintiff’s applications were denied initially and on reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Id. at 198-201, 204-20. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on December 5, 2017 (id. at 120-57), the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. Id. at 55-66.

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found:

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff’s status post right carpal tunnel release, dysthymic disorder, learning disorders, and obesity are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Plaintiff can perform light work with additional limitations: he can lift/carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently (and has unlimited ability to push/pull within these exertional limits). He can sit for about six hours and stand/walk for about six hours in an eight-hour workday with regular breaks. He has unlimited ability to balance. He can frequently climb ramps and stairs, but can only occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He can frequently stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, handle, and finger. He should avoid even moderate exposure to vibration. He can understand, remember, and carry out simple tasks over an eight-hour day with regular breaks. He needs a routine and predictable work environment. He should not work with the general public.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform his past relevant work.
Step five: As there are other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can ...

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