United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ALBERT M. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF ACTING COMMISSIONER OF
SOCIAL SECURITY 
DERRICK K. WATSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
24, 2018, Plaintiff Albert M. Young appealed the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security's denial of his
application for disability insurance benefits. In his Opening
Brief, Young asks this Court to review (1) the Administrative
Law Judge's (“ALJ”) finding with respect to
residual functional capacity (“RFC”), and (2) the
ALJ's rejection of his symptom testimony. After carefully
reviewing the record below and the parties' submissions,
the Court concludes that the ALJ did not err in the manner
suggested by Young and affirms the decision of the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security, as set forth below.
Review of Disability Claims
five-step process exists for evaluating whether a person is
disabled under the Social Security Act (SSA). 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520. First, the claimant must demonstrate that he
is not currently involved in any substantial, gainful
activity. Id. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), (b).
Second, the claimant must show a medically severe impairment
or combination of impairments that significantly limit his
physical or mental ability to do basic work activities.
Id. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), (c). Third, if
the impairment matches or is equivalent to an established
listing under the governing regulations, the claimant is
judged conclusively disabled. Id. §§
claimant's impairment does not match or is not equivalent
to an established listing, the Commissioner makes a finding
about the claimant's residual functional capacity (RFC)
to perform work. Id. § 404.1520(e). The
evaluation then proceeds to a fourth step, which requires the
claimant to show his impairment, in light of his RFC,
prevents him from performing work he performed in the past.
Id. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iv), (e), (f). If
the claimant is able to perform his previous work, he is not
disabled. Id. § 404.1520(f). If the claimant
cannot perform his past work, though, the evaluation proceeds
to a fifth step. Id. § 404.1520(a)(v), (g). At
this final step, the Commissioner must demonstrate that (1)
based upon the claimant's RFC, age, education, and work
experience, the claimant can perform other work, and (2) such
work is available in significant numbers in the national
economy. Id. § 404.1560(c); Tackett v.
Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (explaining
that, at step five, the burden moves to the Commissioner). If
the Commissioner fails to meet this burden, the claimant is
deemed disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(g)(1).
The ALJ's Decision
7, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding Young “not
under a disability” for purposes of the SSA from the
alleged onset date of January 1, 1996 through June 30, 1999,
which is the date Young was last insured. Administrative
Record (“AR”) at 23. At Step One of the
evaluation process, the ALJ determined that Young had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity from January 1, 1996
through June 30, 1999. Id. at 18. At Step Two, the
ALJ determined that, through June 30, 1999, Young had the
following severe impairments: mild-to-moderate chondromalacia
of the patellofemoral joints bilaterally; right mild calcific
rotator cuff tenderness with positive impingement test;
lumbar spine degenerative disc disease; left hand
(particularly thumb) degenerative joint disease and nerve
damage; and obesity. Id. At Step Three, the ALJ
determined that, through June 30, 1999, Young did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the impairments
listed in the governing regulations. Id.
reaching Step Four, the ALJ determined that, through June 30,
1999, Young had the RFC of “less-than-light exertion,
” id. at 21, with the following limitations:
[H]e was able to lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally; he
was able to stand and/or walk 4 hours total (no more than 2
hours at a time) during an 8-hour period; he was able to sit
6 hours total (also no more than 2 hours at a time) during an
8-hour period; he was able to push and/or pull frequently
with the bilateral upper extremities; he was able to
occasionally climb ramps and stairs (he was never able to
climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds); he was able to
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, and crouch (but never
crawl); he was able occasionally to reach overhead with the
bilateral upper extremities; he was able to perform gross
handling and fine fingering frequently with the left upper
extremity[;] and[, ] he had to avoid concentrated exposure to
unprotected heights and hazardous machinery[.]
Id. at 18. The ALJ also later stated that Young
could lift and/or carry at the light level of exertion,
meaning 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently.
Id. at 21.
Four, the ALJ determined that Young was unable to perform any
past relevant work. Id. at 21-22. At Step Five, the
ALJ determined that, through June 30, 1999, there were jobs
that existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that Young could perform. Id. at 22-23. More
specifically, a vocational expert stated that, in light of
Young's RFC, age, education, and work experience, he
would be able to perform the jobs of cashier II (booth),
storage facility rental clerk, and furniture rental
consultant. Id. at 22. This final determination
resulted in the ALJ finding that Young was not under a
disability for purposes of the Social Security Act at any
time from January 1, 1996 through June 30, 1999. Id.
The Appeals Council's Decision
March 20, 2018, the Appeals Council denied Young's
request for review of the ALJ's decision. Id. at