United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING DEFENDANT'S
DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS
Theresa L. Fricke United States Magistrate Judge.
has brought this matter for judicial review of
Defendant's denial of her application for supplemental
security income. The parties have consented to have this
matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge. For the
reasons set forth below, the ALJ's decision is reversed
and remanded for an award of benefits.
ISSUES FOR REVIEW
the ALJ err in evaluating the medical opinion evidence?
the ALJ err in finding Plaintiff's mental health
impairments non-severe at step two of the sequential
the ALJ err in evaluating Plaintiff's subjective
the ALJ err in assessing Plaintiff's residual functional
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
9, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for supplementary
security income. AR 34, 334-39. Plaintiff initially alleged a
disability onset date of January 1, 2010, but later amended
this to April 1, 2015. AR 34, 169. Plaintiff's
application was denied upon administrative review and on
reconsideration. AR 263-69, 274-80. A hearing was held before
an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on March 31,
2017. AR 164-217.
decision dated November 1, 2017, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
was not disabled. AR 31-50. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review on October 1, 2018. AR
1-7. On November 30, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint with
this Court, seeking reversal and remand for an award of
benefits; the parties have consented to the Magistrate
Judge's jurisdiction. Dkt. 4, Dkt 12, p. 18.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will uphold an ALJ's decision unless: (1) the
decision is based on legal error; or (2) the decision is not
supported by substantial evidence. Revels v.
Berryhill, 874 F.3d 648, 654 (9th Cir. 2017).
Substantial evidence is “‘such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'” Biestek v. Berryhill, 139
S.Ct. 1148, 1154 (2019). This requires “more than a
mere scintilla” of evidence. Id.
Court must consider the administrative record as a whole.
Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir.
2014). The Court is required to weigh both the evidence that
supports, and evidence that does not support, the ALJ's
conclusion. Id. The Court may not affirm the
decision of the ALJ for a reason upon which the ALJ did not
rely. Id. Only the reasons identified by the ALJ are
considered in the scope of the Court's review.
Commissioner uses a five-step sequential evaluation process
to determine if a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
416.920. The ALJ assesses the claimant's RFC to
determine, at step four, whether the Plaintiff can perform
past relevant work, and if necessary, at step five to
determine whether the Plaintiff can adjust to other work.
Kennedy v. Colvin, 738 F.3d 1172, 1175 (9th Cir.
2013). The ALJ has the burden of proof at step five to show
that a significant number of jobs that the ...