United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION AND
REMANDING FOR FUTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS
J. Pechman United States District Judge.
seeks review of the denial of her application for Disability
Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by
rejecting a treating provider's opinion and, in the
alternative, the case must be remanded for consideration of
new evidence. Dkt. 10. Because the ALJ erred by discounting
the medical opinion at issue, the Court
REVERSES the Commissioner's final
decision and REMANDS the matter for further
administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C.
is currently 55 years old, has a high school education, and
has worked as a receptionist and a metal finisher. Dkt. 8,
Admin. Record (AR) 31. Plaintiff applied for benefits in
April 2015, alleging disability as of April 1, 2015. AR 312.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. AR 311, 325. After the ALJ conducted a
hearing in September 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff not disabled. AR 267-310, 16-33.
date last insured was June 30, 2017. AR 18. Using the
five-step disability evaluation process set forth in 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520, the ALJ found that for the relevant
period from the April 2015 alleged onset date through the
June 2017 date last insured:
Step one: Plaintiff did not engage in
substantial gainful activity.
Step two: Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: fibromyalgia, disorder of the gastrointestinal
system, affective disorder, and anxiety disorder.
Step three: These impairments did not meet
or equal the requirements of a listed impairment under 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff
could perform light work, lifting 20 pounds occasionally and
10 pounds frequently. She could sit and stand/walk for six
hours per day each. She could occasionally climb
ramps/stairs, balance, stoop, bend, squat, kneel, and crouch,
but never crawl or climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She
was limited to occasional exposure to pulmonary irritants.
She needed to avoid concentrated exposure to hazards or heavy
vibrations. She was able to perform the basic mental demands
of competitive, unskilled work, including understanding,
carrying out, and remembering simple instructions; responding
appropriately to supervision, coworkers, and usual work
situations; and dealing with changes in a routine work
setting. She could have superficial and infrequent
interactions with supervisors, coworkers, and the general
Step four: Plaintiff could not perform past
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 18-33. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the
Commissioner's final decision. AR 1-4.
filed a new application for Supplemental Security Income in
February 2018, alleging onset in May 2015. AR 229. The
Commissioner determined that she was restricted to sedentary
work and, based on her age, education, and work history, the
Medical-Vocational Guidelines mandated a finding of
disability. AR 241 (citing 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P,