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Stephanie Siow v. Michael J. Astrue

November 20, 2012

STEPHANIE SIOW, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Oswald Parada United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The Court now rules as follows with respect to the two disputed issues *fn1 listed in the Joint Stipulation ("JS"). *fn2

I. DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues raised by Plaintiff as the grounds for reversal and/or remand are as follows:

(1) Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly considered Plaintiff's credibility; and

(2) Whether the ALJ properly considered the testimony of Plaintiff's daughter.

(JS at 2-3.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the Commissioner's decision to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether the proper legal standards were applied. DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991). Substantial evidence means "more than a mere scintilla" but less than a preponderance. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S. Ct. 1420, 28 L. Ed. 2d 842 (1971); Desrosiers v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 846 F.2d 573, 575-76 (9th Cir. 1988). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Perales, 402 U.S. at 401 (citation omitted). The Court must review the record as a whole and consider adverse as well as supporting evidence. Green v. Heckler, 803 F.2d 528, 529-30 (9th Cir. 1986). Where evidence is susceptible of more than one rational interpretation, the Commissioner's decision must be upheld. Gallant v. Heckler, 753 F.2d 1450, 1452 (9th Cir. 1984).

III. DISCUSSION

A. The ALJ's Findings.

The ALJ found that Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatoid left forefoot. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 12.) The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff retains the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work with the following limitations: sit about six hours out of an eight-hour day, stand and walk about two hours in an eight-hour day, a cane is required for walking long distances such as several blocks, limited to occasional postural activities, and limited to frequent use of each upper extremity. (Id. at 13.)

To determine the extent to which Plaintiff's limitations eroded her ability to perform the unskilled light occupational base, the ALJ asked the vocational expert ("VE") whether jobs exist in the national economy for an individual with Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC. (Id. at 21.) Based on the testimony of the VE, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could make a successful adjustment to other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy such as electronics worker (Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT") No. 726.687-010); charge account clerk (DOT No. 205.367-014); and ...


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