United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER RE: SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY APPEAL
Alice Theiler United States Magistrate Judge.
proceeds through counsel in his appeal of a final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner). The Commissioner denied plaintiff's
application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) after a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Having
considered the ALJ's decision, the administrative record
(AR), and all memoranda of record, this matter is AFFIRMED.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
was born on XXXX, 1990. He completed high school and previously
worked as a dishwasher. (AR 39, 42.)
protectively filed an SSI application on September 3, 2015,
alleging disability beginning June 20, 2013. (AR 244.) The
application was denied initially and on reconsideration.
August 7, 2017, ALJ Malcolm Ross held a hearing, taking
testimony from plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE). (AR
36-69.) On June 20, 2018, the ALJ issued a decision finding
plaintiff not disabled. (AR 15-29.)
timely appealed. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's
request for review on March 28, 2019 (AR 1), making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
Plaintiff appealed this final decision of the Commissioner to
Court has jurisdiction to review the ALJ's decision
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation
process for determining whether a claimant is disabled.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920 (2000).
At step one, it must be determined whether the claimant is
gainfully employed. The ALJ found plaintiff had not engaged
in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date.
At step two, it must be determined whether a claimant suffers
from a severe impairment. The ALJ found the following
impairments severe: adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety
and depressed mood; post-traumatic stress disorder;
generalized anxiety disorder; major depressive disorder,
recurrent, moderate; attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder; and degenerative disc disease with grade 1
spondylolisthesis. Step three asks whether a claimant's
impairments meet or equal a listed impairment. The ALJ found
plaintiff's impairments did not meet or equal a listing.
claimant's impairments do not meet or equal a listing,
the Commissioner must assess residual functional capacity
(RFC) and determine at step four whether the claimant has
demonstrated an inability to perform past relevant work. The
ALJ found plaintiff able to perform medium work, with the
following limitations: frequent crouching and crawling;
occasional exposure to hazards such as heights and machinery;
occasional interaction with the public, co-workers, and
supervisors; work that is simple, routine, and repetitive;
work that is quota-based, rather than production-paced; and
few, if any, work place changes. With that assessment, the
ALJ found plaintiff able to perform his past relevant work.
claimant demonstrates an inability to perform past relevant
work, or has no past relevant work, the burden shifts to the
Commissioner to demonstrate at step five that the claimant
retains the capacity to make an adjustment to work that
exists in significant levels in the national economy. With
the assistance of the VE, the ALJ also found plaintiff
capable of performing other jobs, such as work as a night
cleaner, laundry worker, and hand packager. He further found
that, if limited to light work, plaintiff would be able to
perform jobs such as bakery worker and office helper.
Court's review of the ALJ's decision is limited to
whether the decision is in accordance with the law and the
findings supported by substantial evidence in the record as a
whole. See Penny v. Sullivan, 2 F.3d 953, 956 (9th
Cir. 1993). Accord Marsh v. Colvin, 792 F.3d 1170,
1172 (9th Cir. 2015) (“We will set aside a denial of
benefits only if the denial is unsupported by substantial
evidence in the administrative record or is based on legal
error.”) Substantial evidence means more than a
scintilla, but less than a preponderance; it means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion. Magallanes v.
Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1989). If ...