Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for supplemental security income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, denies the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment, and remands the case for payment of benefits.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income on March 16, 2007,
alleging that he had been disabled since June 1, 2005.*fn1
Administrative Record ("AR") 11.
Plaintiff's application was initially denied on August 23, 2007, and on reconsideration on February 11, 2008. Id. at 11. On December 2, 2009, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") David R. Mazzi. Id. at 10. Plaintiff was represented by attorney Robert C. Hubbs at the hearing, at which plaintiff and vocational expert ("VE") Gene C. Johnson testified. Id. at 26-69.
On January 7, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled.*fn2
Id. at 20. The ALJ made the following specific findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 16,
2007, the application date, or since the alleged disability onset on June 1, 2005
(20 CFR § 416.971, et seq.). . . .
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: mild degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, and an affective disorder with generalized anxiety
(20 CFR § 416.920(c)). . . .
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the criteria of any section of the Listing of Impairments at 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR § 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926). . . .
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform at least unskilled sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR § 416.967(a).*fn3
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR § 416.965). . . .
6. The claimant was born on November 12, 1967, and was thirty-nine years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the date on which the application was filed (20 C.F.R. § 416.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. § 416.964). . . .
8. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because applying the Medical-Vocational Rules directly supports a finding of "not disabled," whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 C.F.R. § 416.969 and 416.969(a)). . . .
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from March 16, 2007, the date on which the application was filed, or June 1, 2005, the ...