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Adam M. Salcido v. Michael J. Astrue

June 13, 2012

ADAM M. SALCIDO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Mcdermott United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY PROCEEDINGS

On October 17, 2011, Adam M. Salcido ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant") filed a Complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying his application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") disability benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on February 1, 2012. On April 30, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS"). The matter is now ready for decision.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before the undersigned Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision shouldbe affirmed and the case dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was born on March 23, 1964, and was 41 years old on his alleged disability onset date of November 2, 2005. (AR 151.) Plaintiff filed an application for SSI benefits on November 3, 2008 (AR 151-54), and claims he is disabled due to arm, shoulder, and back pain. (AR 174.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged disability onset date. (AR 78, 174.)

Plaintiff's claim was denied initially on January 14, 2009 (AR 89-93), and on reconsideration on April 23, 2009. (AR 95-99.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing on June 11, 2009. (AR 100.) Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing held on August 19, 2010, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Richard A. Urbin. (AR 15-59.) A vocational expert ("VE") also testified. (AR 50-56.) The ALJ issued a decision denying benefits on November 18, 2010. (AR 76-84.) The Appeals Council denied review on August 11, 2011. (AR 1-3.)

DISPUTED ISSUE

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, there is one disputed issue: whether the ALJ properly determined that Plaintiff could perform the occupations of folder, basket filler, and bagger.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence and free of legal error. Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see also DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991) (ALJ's disability determination must be supported by substantial evidence and based on the proper legal standards).

Substantial evidence means "'more than a mere scintilla,' but less than a preponderance." Saelee v. Chater, 94 F.3d 520, 521-22 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

This Court must review the record as a whole and consider adverse as well as supporting evidence. Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006). Where evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the ALJ's decision must be upheld. Morgan v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 169 F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999). "However, a reviewing court must consider the entire record as a whole and may not affirm simply by isolating a 'specific quantum of supporting evidence.'" Robbins, 466 F.3d at 882 (quoting Hammock v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989)); see also Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007).

THE SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION

The Social Security Act defines disability as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or . . . can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 423(d) (1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The ...


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