United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER RE: SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY APPEAL
Alice Theiler United States Magistrate Judge.
proceeds through counsel in her appeal of a final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner). The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's
applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and
Child's Disability Benefits (CDB) 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, 1996. She has a high school diploma and some
coursework in medical office administration, and has worked
as a childcare assistant and customer service representative.
(AR 48-52, 243, 280.)
applied for SSI and CDB in November 2015. (AR 211-16,
222-25.) Those applications were denied and Plaintiff timely
requested a hearing. (AR 122-44.)
October 10, 2017, ALJ Glenn G. Meyers held a hearing, taking
testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE). (AR
34-72.) On April 26, 2018, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff not disabled. (AR 15-28.) Plaintiff timely
appealed. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review on February 25, 2019 (AR 1-6), 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 February 15, 2014, the
alleged onset date. (AR 17.) At step two, it must be
determined whether a claimant suffers from a severe
impairment. The ALJ found severe Plaintiff's diabetes
mellitus, disorder of the gastrointestinal system versus
ovarian cysts, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, right
foot and ankle osteopenia, congenital foot anomalies, and
osteoarthrosis. (AR 17-19.) Step three asks whether a
claimant's impairments meet or equal a listed impairment.
The ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet
or equal the criteria of a listed impairment. (AR 19-20.)
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 capable of performing sedentary work with
additional limitations: she can perform unskilled,
repetitive, routine tasks in two-hour increments. She can
have no contact with the public, can work in proximity to but
not in coordination with co-workers, and can have occasional
contact with supervisors. She can occasionally stoop, squat,
crouch, crawl, kneel, and climb ramps and stairs, but cannot
climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds. She would be absent from
work eight time per year, but would not have any absences in
the first 90 days of work, and would be off-task at work 8%
of a workday but could still meet the minimum production
requirements of the job. (AR 21.) With that assessment, the
ALJ found Plaintiff unable to perform any of her past
relevant work. (AR 26-27.)
claimant demonstrates an inability to perform 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
found Plaintiff capable of transitioning to other
representative occupations, such as bench hand, table worker,
and masker. (AR 27-28.)
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). 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 there is more than one rational
interpretation, one of which supports the ALJ's decision,
the Court must uphold that decision. Thomas v.
Barnhart, 278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir. 2002).
argues the ALJ erred in (1) discounting her subjective
symptom testimony and her mother's lay statement; (2)
discounting the opinion of consultative examiner Morgan
Liddell, M.D.; and (3) assessing her RFC. The Commissioner
argues that the ...