United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
KAMALA S. B., Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Theresa L. Fricke United States Magistrate Judge.
has brought this matter for judicial review of
defendant's denial of her applications for disability
insurance and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits.
This matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate
Judge. Mathews, Sec'y of H.E.W. v. Weber, 423
U.S. 261 (1976); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); Local Rule
MJR 4(a)(4). For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned
recommends that the Court reverse defendant's decision to
deny benefits and remand this matter for further
parties have fourteen (14) days from service
of this Report and Recommendation to file written objections,
and the parties shall have fourteen (14)
days from service of objections, if any, to file a
response. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); FRCP 6; FRCP 72(b)(2).
This matter shall be set for consideration on
November 8, 2019, as noted in the caption.
ISSUE FOR REVIEW
ALJ err in evaluating the opinion of Dr. Erum Khaleeq?
November 6, 2014, plaintiff filed applications for disability
insurance benefits and SSI benefits, alleging that she became
disabled beginning July 29, 2014. Dkt. 8, Administrative
Record (AR) 207, 217. Both applications were denied on
initial administrative review and on reconsideration. AR 132,
140, 145. A hearing was held before an
administrative law judge (ALJ). AR 32-63.
decision dated November 28, 2017, the ALJ found that
plaintiff has the following severe impairments: Burn on her
right hand; right ulnar neuropathy; chronic pain syndrome;
chronic fatigue; fibromyalgia; diabetes; peripheral
neuropathy; headaches; and depression. AR 18. The ALJ made an
assessment of plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(RFC) and determined plaintiff could perform other jobs
existing in significant numbers in the national economy and
therefore that she was not disabled. AR 15-27.
Plaintiff's request for review was denied by the Appeals
Council on September 14, 2018. Plaintiff then appealed to
this Court. AR 1; Dkt. 5; 20 C.F.R. § 404.981, §
seeks reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand for
further administrative proceedings, arguing the ALJ erred in
evaluating the medical evidence. Dkt. 10. For the reasons set
forth below, the undersigned recommends the Court reverse and
remand this case for further administrative proceedings.
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) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co.
v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). This requires
“more than a mere scintilla, ” of evidence.
Court must consider the administrative record as a whole.
Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir.
2014). It must weigh both the evidence that supports, and
evidence that does not support, the ALJ's conclusion.
Id. The Court considers in its review only the
reasons the ALJ identified and may not affirm for a different
reason. Garrison, 579 F.3d at 1010.
Furthermore, “[l]ong-standing principles of
administrative law require us to review the ALJ's
decision based on the reasoning and actual findings offered
by the ALJ-not post hoc rationalizations that attempt to
intuit what the adjudicator may have been thinking.”
Bray v. Comm'r of SSA, 554 F.3d 1219, 1225-26
(9th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).
ALJ's decision is based on a rational interpretation of
conflicting evidence, the Court will uphold the ALJ's
finding. Carmickle v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
Admin., 533 F.3d 1155, 1165 (9th Cir. 2008). It is
unnecessary for the ALJ to “discuss all
evidence presented”. Vincent on Behalf of Vincent
v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 1393, 1394-95 (9th Cir. 1984)
(citation omitted) (emphasis in original). The ALJ must only
explain why “significant probative evidence has been
Commissioner uses a five-step sequential evaluation process
to determine whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§416.920. The Commissioner assesses a claimant's RFC
to determine-at step four-whether the claimant can perform
past relevant work. Kennedy v. Colvin, 738 F.3d
1172, 1175 (9th Cir. 2013). If the claimant cannot, then the
ALJ reviews-at step five-whether the claimant can adjust to
other work. Id. The Commissioner has the burden of
proof at step five. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094,
1099 (9th Cir. 1999). The Commissioner can meet this burden
by showing that a significant number of jobs that the
claimant can perform exist in the national economy.
Id.; 20 C.F.R. §416.920(e).
The ALJ's Evaluation of the Medical ...