This social security action was submitted to the court without oral argument for ruling on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion is granted in part and denied in part, the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) is reversed, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this order.
On March 14, 2008, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act), alleging disability beginning on January 1, 1999. (Transcript (Tr.) at 22, 119-20.) Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. (Id. at 69-73, 77-81.)
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and an administrative hearing was held before an ALJ on November 17, 2009. (Id. at 35-59.) Plaintiff was represented by counsel and testified at that administrative hearing. In a decision issued on February 11, 2010, the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled. (Id. at 29.) The ALJ entered the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 14, 2008, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder, learning disorder (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations: simple, repetitive tasks.
5. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a hand packager, D.O.T. code 920.587-018 medium, unskilled SVP
2. This work does not require the performance of work related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity
6. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since March 14, 2008, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(f)).
On April 14, 2011, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's February 11, 2010 decision. (Id. at 1-3.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by filing the complaint in this action on June 14, 2011. LEGAL STANDARD
The Commissioner's decision that a claimant is not disabled will be upheld if the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole and the proper legal standards were applied. Schneider v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 223 F.3d 968, 973 (9th Cir. 2000); Morgan v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 169 F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999). The findings of the Commissioner as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive. Miller v. Heckler, 770 F.2d 845, 847 (9th Cir. 1985). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Osenbrock v. Apfel, 240 F.3d ...