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Christian D. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 25, 2019

CHRISTIAN D., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendants.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER’S DECISION

          THERESA L. FRICKE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff has brought this matter for judicial review of defendant’s denial of his applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income (SSI) benefits.

         The parties have consented to have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge.

         I. ISSUES FOR REVEW

         1. Did the ALJ err by assigning partial weight to the opinion of Dr. Cline?

         2. Did the ALJ err by failing to specify which aspects of plaintiff’s testimony were found to be not credible and was the credibility determination supported by substantial evidence?

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income benefits on October 30, 2014, alleging a disability onset date of September 1, 2002 – later amended to September 25, 2014. Dkt. 8, Administrative Record (AR) 39, 178, 180. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 115, 124. After a hearing, AR 35-62, an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that plaintiff was not disabled. AR 15-30.

         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 additional proceedings. Dkt. 10.

Using the five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 25, 2014 – the amended alleged onset date. AR 20.
Step two: Plaintiff has these severe impairments: Major depressive disorder; generalized anxiety disorder; PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder); panic disorder with agoraphobia versus social anxiety with panic disorder (characterized as a social condition); avoidance personality disorder with schizoid traits; and history of substance abuse. AR 21.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment. AR 21.
Residual functional capacity (RFC): “Full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: he is capable of simple, routine, repetitive tasks with short and simple instructions. He can make simple work-related decisions, with only occasional work place changes. He can have no interaction with the public, and only superficial interaction with co-workers and supervisors. This does not preclude interaction with small ...

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