The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
On July 25, 2008, plaintiff Amy Snodgrass ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of plaintiff's application for benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, respectively ("Plaintiff's Motion") and ("Defendant's Motion"). The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15; July 31, 2008 Case Management Order ¶ 5.
Based on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision of the Commissioner is REVERSED AND REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this Memorandum and Opinion and Order of Remand because the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") did not properly assess the credibility of plaintiff's subjective complaints.
II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
On February 28, 2003, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") 42-44). Plaintiff asserted that she became disabled on October 10, 1991, due to epilepsy. (AR 49). The ALJ examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, on December 2, 2004. (AR 247-290). The ALJ issued his first decision denying benefits on March 2, 2005. (AR 12-16). This Court entered a stipulated judgment of remand on March 27, 2006. (AR 310-11; see AR 307-09). The ALJ then conducted another hearing on January 23, 2008, at which a medical expert and a vocational expert testified. (AR 521-39).
On March 21, 2008, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision (the "Post-Remand Decision"). (AR 294-99). Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairment of a seizure disorder (AR 296); (2) plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments (AR 296); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work with certain limitations*fn1 (AR 296); (4) plaintiff has no past relevant work (AR 298); (5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform (AR
298); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding her limitations were not entirely credible. (AR 297). The Appeals Council did not review the ALJ's decision, and the Post-Remand Decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1484(d).
III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Sequential Evaluation Process
To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months. Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)). The impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work she previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial gainful employment that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)). In assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is to follow a five-step sequential evaluation process:
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not, proceed to step two.
(2) Is the claimant's alleged impairment sufficiently severe to limit her ability to work? If not, the claimant is not ...