The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER AFFIRMING IN PART AND REVERSING IN PART THE AGENCY'S DENIAL OF BENEFITS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF JUDGMENT
Plaintiff Adelaido Jacinto, by his attorneys, Law Offices of Lawrence D. Rohlfing, seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for disability insurance benefits under Title II, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI, of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.) (the "Act"). The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' cross-briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Sandra M. Snyder, United States Magistrate Judge. Following a review of the complete record and applicable law, this Court affirms the Commissioner's decision for the time period from July 25, 2008, through December 15, 2010, and reverses the Commissioner's decision for the time period beginning December 16, 2010.
On January 25, 2006, Plaintiff applied for disability benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act, alleging disability beginning September 21, 2005. His claims were initially denied on June 29, 2006, and upon reconsideration, on January 25, 2007. On February 28, 2007, Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing. Plaintiff appeared and testified at a hearing on May 13, 2008. On July 24, 2008, Administrative Law Judge Michael J. Haubner denied Plaintiff's application. The Appeals Council denied review on May 24, 2010. On August 10, 2010, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking District Court review. Jacinto v. Astrue, Doc. 1 (E.D.Cal.) (No. 1:10-cv-01475-SMS). The District Court affirmed the Commissioner's decision on October 21, 2011. Jacinto v. Astrue, Doc. 16 (E.D.Cal. October 21, 2011) (No. 1:10-cv-01475-SMS).
Meanwhile, on September 3, 2006, Plaintiff again applied for disability benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act, alleging disability beginning July 25, 2008. On September 15, 2008, he added a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), also alleging disability beginning July 25, 2008. His claims were initially denied on January 14, 2009, and upon reconsideration, on April 20, 2009. On June 1, 2009, Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing. Plaintiff appeared and testified at a hearing on October 7, 2010. On October 25, 2010, Administrative Law Judge Christopher Larsen denied Plaintiff's application. The Appeals Council denied review on May 31, 2011. On July 5, 2011, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking District Court review.
Plaintiff's testimony. Plaintiff (born December 16, 1960) attended school in Mexico through the second grade. He had been a field worker for twenty-five years when he had open heart surgery in 2005. Thereafter, his incision became infected, and he did not return to work. He had knee surgery in 2006 and shoulder surgery in 2010. He was always in pain in his chest, knees, and back. At the hearing, Plaintiff's left arm was supported by a sling following rotator cuff surgery. He walked with a cane.
Plaintiff lived with his wife and his father-in-law. On a typical day, he awoke at about 6:00 a.m. When he was not recovering from shoulder surgery, he was able to perform his own personal care and dress himself. He could fix simple meals. When he was able, he helped with household chores, such as dusting and laundry. Outside, he watered plants or trimmed dry leaves.
Plaintiff watched television about three hours a day. He visited his mother, who lived nearby, once a week.
Plaintiff estimated that he could stand for an hour before needing to sit. He could sit for twenty or thirty minutes. He could lift about ten pounds. Plaintiff was five feet, seven inches tall, and weighted 226 pounds. (Plaintiff had gained about 25 pounds due to inactivity following his recent shoulder surgery.)
Wife's testimony. Josie Jacinto had been married to Plaintiff for sixteen years. She testified that now, he was always in pain. He sometimes became light-headed. She had been helping Plaintiff dress since he had open heart surgery in 2005. He became easily frustrated and irritable with himself and others when he attempted to perform household tasks and experienced pain in his back, arms, or knees. He often volunteered to perform gardening, sweeping, or vacuuming even though his frequent rests meant the task took a long time. Mrs. Jacinto would prefer that Plaintiff rest and let her perform the household tasks, particularly since she feared that he would become lightheaded, fall, and hurt himself.
Exertion questionnaire. Plaintiff submitted an exertion questionnaire on a form apparently prepared by his attorney. He reported constant pain, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Although he was able to drive his automatic car, he only did so when he wife could not arrange to drive for him. Although he could sit and water the garden, he could no longer cut or edge the lawn nor prune plants. His medications included Warfarin (blood thinner), Lipitor (cholesterol), Diovan (blood pressure), aspirin (blood thinner), Gabapentin (pain), Lovaza (cholesterol), Celebrex (pain), fibercon (constipation), Hydrochlorothiazide (taken with Diovan), Lexapro (depression), and Nitroquick (as needed for chest pain).
Medical records. Doctors' reports indicated that Plaintiff's weight ranged from 238 to 267 pounds.
Plaintiff was examined at Bautista Medical Group on August 13, 2007, and August 19, 2008. (On another occasion, Plaintiff left before seeing the doctor.) The medical notes documented Plaintiff's complaints of chest pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, and high blood pressure.
In September 2008, University Medical Center began to provide follow-up care for Plaintiff's aortic valve replacement. Doctors there also regularly monitored his blood since he was taking anticoagulants. At the initial appointment, Plaintiff complained of fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain radiating to his jaw and arm.
Interpretation of an electrocardiogram administered on October 1, 2008, was technically limited by Plaintiff's obesity. Cardiologist Ralph J. Wessel, M.D., concluded:
The left ventricular chamber size is normal.
Mild concentric left ventricular hypertrophy is observed.
There is normal left ventricular systolic function.
The estimated ejection fraction is 55-60 %.
The left atrium is mildly dilated.
The mechanical aortic valve appears well seated with ...