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 December 16, 2011, Susan Ackley ("Plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying her applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") disability benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on March 19, 2012. On May 29, 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.
Plaintiff was born on August 5, 1966, and was 41 years old on her alleged disability onset date of January 1, 2008. (AR 124.) Plaintiff filed applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and SSI disability benefits on February 5, 2009 (AR 117-31), and claims she is disabled due to bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, seizures, and pain in her hands, among other things. (AR 141.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date of January 1, 2008. (AR 12.)
Plaintiff's claim was denied initially on June 3, 2009 (AR 58-63), and upon reconsideration on August 4, 2009. (AR 67-72.) Plaintiff then filed a timely request for hearing on August 25, 2009. (AR 74.) Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing held on August 16, 2010, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Sharilyn Hopson. (AR 22-40.) The ALJ issued a decision denying benefits on December 2, 2010. (AR 10-18.) The Appeals Council denied review on October 26, 2011. (AR 1-3.)
As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, there is one disputed issue: whether the ALJ properly assessed Plaintiff's credibility.
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. §§ 423(d) (1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The ...