The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR B. Kenton United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court for review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's application for disability benefits. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(c), the parties have consented that the case may be handled by the Magistrate Judge. The action arises under 42 U.S.C. §405(g), which authorizes the Court to enter judgment upon the pleadings and transcript of the Administrative Record ("AR") before the Commissioner. The parties have filed the Joint Stipulation ("JS"), and the Commissioner has filed the certified AR.
Plaintiff raises the following issues:
1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") committed legal error in not adequately assessing the testimony of Plaintiff's daughter (JS at p. 2); and
2. Whether the ALJ properly considered a mental impairment. (JS at p. 6.)
This Memorandum Opinion will constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that for the reasons set forth, the decision of the Commissioner must be reversed and the matter remanded.
THE ALJ PROPERLY CONSIDERED OBJECTIVE MEDICAL EVIDENCE CONCERNING PLAINTIFF'S MENTAL IMPAIRMENT, BUT IMPROPERLY REJECTED THE TESTIMONY OF PLAINTIFF'S DAUGHTER
The two issues in this case concern the ALJ's evaluation of Plaintiff's mental impairment. In the first issue, Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ erred in rejecting the testimony provided by Plaintiff's daughter, and in the second issue, Plaintiff disputes the ALJ's evaluation of the objective medical evidence. The Court will turn to the second issue first.
There is no dispute between the parties that Plaintiff received treatment for anxiety and depression. (See Plaintiff's portion of the JS at 4; Defendant's portion at 7, citing AR 431-33, 438, 441-42, 521-22, 524, 526, and 528.) In addition, at the first administrative hearing in this matter, which occurred on September 18, 2008, Plaintiff provided fairly detailed testimony about her mental health treatment, in particular her treatment and medications for depression. (See, e.g., AR 62-66.)
At the request of the Department of Social Services, on June 13, 2008, Plaintiff received a complete psychological evaluation ("CE") from Dr. Riahinejad, a clinical psychologist. (AR 461-465.) After performing testing, Dr. Riahinejad diagnosed on Axis I Depressive Disorder, With Anxiety. (AR 464.) He determined Plaintiff is capable of managing funds on her own behalf; she is able to understand, remember and carry out simple and repetitive instructions; she could have moderate difficulty understanding, remembering, and carrying out complex and detailed instructions; she is able to accept instructions from a supervisor and relate with co-workers; she does not have any difficulty with pace. (AR 464-465.)
In his decision, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's mental residual functional capacity ("MRFC") includes, "in the mental realm, the claimant has moderate difficulty in understanding, remembering and carrying out complex and detailed instructions. She has no other significant limitations." (AR 23.) Thus, the ALJ adopted the CE's assessment of Plaintiff's mental functional capacity in determining her MRFC.
As to this issue, Plaintiff's objection to the ALJ's adoption of the CE's functional capacity assessment is that the CE admitted that he did not perform specific testing to assess Plaintiff's depression and/or anxiety. (AR 509.) Plaintiff's counsel points out that he requested the ALJ to order specific testing concerning anxiety and depression, which was denied. (AR 37, 39, 41, 114-15.) As such, Plaintiff's contention is that the ALJ failed to develop the record ...