The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
On October 26, 2011, plaintiff Joanne Jimenez ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of plaintiff's application for benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, respectively ("Plaintiff's Motion") and ("Defendant's Motion"). The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15; October 27, 2011 Case Management Order ¶ 5.
Based on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision of the Commissioner is REVERSED AND REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this Memorandum Opinion and Order of Remand.
II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
On July 10, 2009, plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") 115). Plaintiff asserted that she became disabled on August 15, 2008, due to a learning disability, dyslexia, arthritis, carpal tunnel, depression, numbness and tingling in both hands, physical pain, and panic attacks. (AR 123-24). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel) and a vocational expert on February 9, 2011. (AR 21-47).
On February 25, 2011, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 8-16). Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, status post bilateral carpal tunnel release, carpametacarpal osteoarthritis bilaterally, basal joint arthritis of the thumbs with amputation of the right index finger, entrapment of the median nerve at both wrists, obesity treated with bariatric surgery, cognitive dysfunction, borderline intellectual functioning, panic disorder, and depression (AR 10); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 10); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b), 416.967(b)) with additional limitations*fn1 (AR 12); (4) plaintiff could not perform her past relevant work (AR 14); (5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically "small products assembler I," "sewing machine (semi-automatic) operator" and "electronics worker" (AR 15); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding her limitations were not credible to the extent they were inconsistent with the ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (AR 14).
The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review. (AR 1).
III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Sequential Evaluation Process
To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that the claimant is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months. Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)). The impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work claimant previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial gainful employment that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)).
In assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is to follow a five-step sequential evaluation process:
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. ...