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Teresse L. Podborny v. Michael J. Astrue

April 14, 2011

TERESSE L. PODBORNY
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alicia G. Rosenberg United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Teresse L. Podborny filed a complaint on January 8, 2010. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before Magistrate Judge Rosenberg on January 28 and February 19, 2010. (Dkt. Nos. 8, 9.) On October 5, 2010, 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 Court affirms the decision of the Commissioner.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On June 17, 2005, Podborny filed an application for supplemental security income benefits. Administrative Record ("AR") 27. She alleged a disability onset date of August 1, 2004. Id. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. Podborny requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 69. On June 20, 2007, an ALJ conducted a hearing at which Podborny and a vocational expert testified. AR 77-106. On August 31, 2007, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 27-33. On October 30, 2009, the Appeals Council denied Podborny's request for review. AR 5-8. This action followed.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

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).

In this context, "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. Where the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the Court must defer to the decision of the Commissioner. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Disability

A person qualifies as disabled and is eligible for 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).

B. The ALJ's Findings

The ALJ found that Podborny has the severe impairments of fibromyalgia and depression. AR 29. She has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") "to perform light work that would require occasional climbing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching and crawling and entail simple, repetitive tasks." Id. The ALJ found that Podborny has no past relevant work, but there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national ...


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