The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alicia G. Rosenberg United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Lonnie Hardwick filed this action on April 7, 2008. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before Magistrate Judge Rosenberg on April 18 and August 11, 2008. On November 25, 2008, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") that addressed the disputed issues. The Court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument.
Having reviewed the entire file, the decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.
On October 27, 2005, Hardwick filed an application for supplemental security income benefits, alleging disability beginning on June 30, 2004. A.R. 5. The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. An Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing on September 6, 2007, at which Hardwick and a medical expert ("ME") testified. A.R. 18-36. On November 15, 2007, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. A.R. 3-11. On February 9, 2008, the Appeals Council denied Hardwick's request for review. A.R. 15-17.
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence, or if it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995); Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).
"Substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance -- it is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion." Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the Court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257. When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the Court must defer to the Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.
"A person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such benefits, only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy." Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20, 21-22, 124 S.Ct. 376, 157 L.Ed. 2d 333 (2003) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
The ALJ found that Hardwick has the following severe impairments: "active polysubstance abuse and dependence with schizoaffective disorder secondary to active polysubstance abuse." A.R. 7. Hardwick's impairments meet two listings. A.R. 8. ...