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Veronica V. Duran v. Michael J. Astrue

February 24, 2012

VERONICA V. DURAN
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

Plaintiff Veronica Duran filed a complaint on June 7, 2010. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on June 21, 2010, and February 23, 2012. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 15.) On March 8, 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 affirms the decision of the Commissioner.

I.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On November 8, 2005, Duran filed an application for disability insurance benefits. Administrative Record ("AR") 12. She alleged a disability onset date of July 1, 2002. Id. The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. On November 20, 2007, an administrative law judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing at which Duran and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 731-43. On March 28, 2008, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 9-19. On April 6, 2010, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 3-6. This action was filed on June 7, 2010.

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 ...


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