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Eric W. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

October 11, 2019

ERIC W., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S FINAL DECISION AND DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks review of the partial denial of his application for Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred in assessing lay witness testimony, determining his disability onset date, and relying on vocational expert testimony. Dkt. 11. As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently 44 years old, has a high school education, and has worked as a cook. Dkt. 7, Admin. Record (AR) 80, 33-34. Plaintiff applied for benefits in September 2016, alleging disability as of April 4, 2016. AR 80. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 79, 111. After the ALJ conducted a hearing in April 2018, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff disabled beginning November 21, 2017. AR 42, 21-36.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found that from the April 2016 alleged onset date to the November 2017 established onset Dated:

Step one: Plaintiff did not engage in substantial gainful activity.
Step two: Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, shoulder arthritis, status post right shoulder rotator cuff repair, migraine headaches, obesity, major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorder, and anxiety disorder.
Step three: These impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff could perform sedentary work, lifting and carrying 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently. He could stand or walk two hours and sit six hours per day. He could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally climb ramps and stairs; occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, kneel, and crawl; occasionally reach overhead bilaterally; and frequently reach in all other directions bilaterally. He needed to avoid concentrated cold, vibrations, and hazards. He could perform simple, routine, repetitive tasks, consistent with unskilled work. He could tolerate occasional interaction with coworkers and the public.
Step four: Plaintiff could not perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff could have performed, Plaintiff was not disabled.

         AR 24-36. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the ...


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