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Jesus Ibarra v. Michael J. Astrue

July 3, 2012

JESUS IBARRA, 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

Jesus Ibarra ("Ibarra") filed this action on August 24, 2011. (Dkt. No. 3.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on September 9 and 21, 2011. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 9.) On April 30, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") that addressed the disputed issue. The Court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument.

Having reviewed the entire file, the Court reverses the decision of the Commissioner and remands this matter for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On March 27, 2008, Ibarra filed an application for supplemental security income benefits, alleging an onset date of February 1, 2008. Administrative Record ("AR") 103-09. The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 51, 52. Ibarra requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 67. On July 30, 2009 an ALJ conducted a hearing at which Ibarra, a medical expert and a vocational expert testified. AR 23-50. On November 25, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 8-19. On June 23, 2011, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 1-5. This action followed.

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).

"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. When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must defer to the Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.

III.

DISCUSSION

A. Disability A person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such 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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