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Hang v. Astrue

September 28, 2009

PORSOUA HANG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



ORDER

This social security action was submitted to the court, without oral argument, for ruling on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion (Doc. No. 18) is denied, defendant's motion (Doc. No. 24) is granted, and the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) is affirmed.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On June 27, 2005, plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (Act), alleging disability beginning January 1, 2003. (Transcript (Tr.) at 48-52.) The application was denied initially on September 15, 2005, and upon reconsideration on November 19, 2005. (Tr. at 26-27, 33-45.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing. (Tr. at 31.) A hearing was held before an administrative law judge (ALJ) on April 9, 2007, at which plaintiff was represented by a non-attorney representative and testified through an interpreter. (Tr. at 228-45.) In a decision dated May 12, 2007, the ALJ determined that plaintiff had not been disabled at any time through the date of the decision. (Tr. at 11-21.) The ALJ entered the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 27, 2005.

2. The medical evidence establishes that the claimant has severe joint pain due to osteoarthritis, arthralgias, foot pain due to plantar fasciitis, a post traumatic stress disorder, and a major depressive disorder, moderate, recurrent. However, she does not have an impairment or combination of impairments listed in, or medically equal to one listed in Appendix 1, Subpart P, Regulations No. 4.

3. The claimant's testimony concerning her limitations is not found to be fully credible for the reasons set forth in this decision, and is not supported by medical evidence contained in the record.

4. The claimant has the retained residual functional capacity to lift 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand and/or walk with normal breaks for a total of 4 hours in an eight-hour workday, and sit 6 hours in an eight-hour workday. Nonexertionally, she is limited to the performance of simple, repetitive tasks involving unskilled entry-level work which does not involve frequent public contact or frequent contact with co-workers. (20 CFR 416.045).

5. The claimant has performed no past relevant work.

6. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a limited range of light work and a full range of sedentary unskilled work on a sustained basis (20 CFR 416.967, 416.945(b)(c)).

7. The claimant is 44 years of age, which is defined as a younger individual. She has no educational background and is unable to read, write or communicate in the English language (20 CFR 416.963).

8. In view of the claimant's age and residual functional capacity, the issue of transferability of work skills is not material.

9. In light of the claimant's residual functional capacity, age, education and work experience, section 416.969 of Regulations 16, and Rule 202.16 of Table No. 2 and Rule 201.23 of Table No. 1 of Appendix 2, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4, provide that she is not disabled.

10. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time through the date of this decision (20 CFR 416.920(g)[)].

(Tr. at 20-21.)

On June 23, 2007, plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. at 6.) The Appeals Council denied the request on March 24, 2008. (Tr. at 3-5.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by filing the complaint in this action on May 27, 2008.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Commissioner's decision that a claimant is not disabled will be upheld if the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence and the proper legal standards were applied. Schneider v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 223 F.3d 968, 973 (9th Cir. 2000); Morgan v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 169 F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999). The findings of the Commissioner as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive. See Miller v. Heckler, 770 F.2d 845, 847 (9th Cir. 1985). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to ...


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