The opinion of the court was delivered by: United States Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Hattie May Wells ("Wells") filed this action on August 12, 2010. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on August 31 and September 14, 2010. (Dkt. Nos. 6, 7.) On April 13, 2011, 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 remands this matter to the Commissioner for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND On May 28, 2008, Wells filed applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits alleging a disability onset date of August 4, 2007. Administrative Record ("AR") 12. The applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. Wells requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). On July 10, 2009, the ALJ conducted a hearing at which Wells testified. AR 12, 25-40. On November 23, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 9-24. On July 17, 2010, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 1-4. This action followed.
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).
"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).
The ALJ found that Wells met the insured status requirements through December 31, 2008. AR 14. Wells has the following severe combination of impairments: "mild degenerative disc disease of the lumbosacral spine, mild osteopenia and degenerative joint disease of the left knee, tricompartmental chondromalacia of the left knee, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity, a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease, a history of mild diverticulitis and ...