The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stephen J. Hillman United States Magistrate Judge
This matter is before the Court for review of the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying plaintiff's application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented that the case may be handled by the undersigned. The action arises under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), which authorizes the Court to enter judgment upon the pleadings and transcript of the record before the Commissioner.
The plaintiff and defendant have filed their pleadings (Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Complaint ["Plaintiff's Brief"]; Defendant's Brief in Support of Answer ["Defendant's Brief"]), and the defendant has filed the Certified Administrative Record [AR]. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that the Decision of the Commissioner should be affirmed.
Cecilia Garcia (Plaintiff) applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) in 2001, alleging that she had been disabled since June 28, 2000. (AR at 161). Plaintiff was awarded DIB in 2001 because her mental conditions met the requirements of Listings 12.04 (depression) and 12.06 (anxiety related disorders). (See AR at 240). The Social Security Administration later reviewed Plaintiff's ongoing disability and found on May 19, 2006 that her mental impairments had improved to the extent that she was no longer disabled as of that date. (AR at 35-36).
On June 5, 2006, Plaintiff filed a request for a review of the Administration's ruling. (AR at 41). Plaintiff's request for review was denied on September 5, 2007. (AR 59). Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). (AR at 79). The ALJ held hearings in May and October 2008, and issued an unfavorable decision on November 19, 2008. (AR at 117-125).
Plaintiff filed a request for a review of the ALJ's unfavorable decision on December 9, 2008. (AR at 126). The Appeals Council remanded the matter and instructed the ALJ to further evaluate the Plaintiff's mental impairment and the opinions of Plaintiff's two sons, and obtain updated medical evidence and supplemental evidence from a vocational expert (VE). (AR at 139-40).
In 2009, Plaintiff began working part-time as a sales associate at Marshalls between 20-38 hours a week. (AR at 628-632, 635-36, 640-41, 651-53).
On January 13, 2010, the ALJ held another hearing pursuant to the Appeals Council remand order. (AR at 621). During that hearing, the vocational expert classified Plaintiff's work at Marshalls as that of a "sales, attendant," a job requiring light, unskilled work with an SVP 2 under the Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT"). (AR at 653).
The ALJ issued another unfavorable decision on April 29, 2010. (AR at 13). In that decision, the ALJ did not include Plaintiff's alleged continued depression in a list of medically determinable impairments that included an anxiety disorder, cervical spine disorder, and osteoporosis of the lumbar spine. (AR at 21). The ALJ proceeded to find that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or combine to equal the severity of an impairment listed in the Social Security Regulations. Id.
On June 10, 2010, Plaintiff filed a second request for review, (AR at 12), which the Appeals Council denied on March 13, 2012. (AR at 6). Plaintiff has since filed this action in this Court.
Plaintiff challenges the ALJ's decision to deny her DIB as of May 19, 2006, alleging that 1) The ALJ erred in excluding Plaintiff's migraine headaches and major depressive disorder from Plaintiff's list of severe impairments; 2) The ALJ erred in reaching the conclusion that Plaintiff's psychiatric conditions no longer met or equaled Listings 12.04 and 12.06; and 3) The ALJ erred in determining that Plaintiff was capable of returning to her past relevant work assembling sprinklers. (Plaintiff's Brief at 4, 5).
Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the Commissioner's decision to determine if: (1) the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the Commissioner used proper legal standards. Delorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991). Substantial evidence means "more than a mere scintilla," Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S. Ct. 1420, 1427, 28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971), but "less than a preponderance." Desrosiers v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 846 F.2d 573, 576 (9th Cir. 1988). This Court cannot disturb the Commissioner's findings if those findings are supported by substantial evidence, even though other evidence may exist which supports plaintiff's claim. See Torske v. Richardson, 484 F.2d 59, 60 (9th Cir. 1973), cert. denied, Torske v. Weinberger, 417 U.S. 933, 94 S. Ct. 2646 (1974); Harvey v. Richardson, 451 F.2d 589, 590 (9th Cir. 1971). When represented by counsel, claimants must raise all ...