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Ramon Patino v. Michael J. Astrue

September 17, 2012

RAMON PATINO, 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 COMMISSIONER PROCEEDINGS

On December 15, 2011, Ramon Patino ("Plaintiff or Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's application for Supplemental Social Security Income ("SSI") disability benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on April 9, 2012. On August 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 this Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed and this case dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Claimant is a 22 year old male who receives Supplemental Security Income benefits based on disability as a child. (AR 26.) As required by law, eligibility for these disability benefits was redetermined under the rules for determining disability in adults when Claimant attained age 18, and on March 13, 2008, Claimant was determined to be no longer disabled as of February 1, 2008. (AR 26.)

Claimant then waived his right to a face-to-face disability hearing, and a Disability Hearing Officer upheld his prior determination on September 18, 2008. (AR 26.) Thereafter, Claimant filed a written request for hearing and appeared and testified at a hearing held on February 15, 2011, in Los Angeles, California*fn1 before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") David

A. Agatstein. (AR 26.) Claimant chose to appear and testify without the assistance of an attorney or other representative. (AR 26.) Also appearing and testifying were medical expert ("ME") David B. Peterson, Ph.D., and vocational expert ("VE") Susan D. Green and Aura Izzepi, Claimant's mother. (AR 26.) As Ms. Izzepi spoke only Spanish, a Spanish interpreter was present at the hearing to facilitate with testimony in this case. (AR 26.)

On March 1, 2011, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. (AR 26-35.) On September 13, 2011, the Appeals Council denied Claimant's request for review. (AR 6-8.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, Plaintiff raises but one issue as a ground for reversal and remand:

1. Whether the ALJ erred in failing to find that Plaintiff met Listing 12.05C.

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 ...


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