The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alicia G. Rosenberg United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Bernard Guevara filed this action on March 14, 2012. (Dkt. No. 3.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on March 29 and April 12, 2012. (Dkt. Nos. 8, 9.) On November 1, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") that addressed the disputed issues. The court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument.
Having reviewed the entire file, the court reverses the decision of the Commissioner and remands this matter for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
On May 3, 2010, Guevara filed an application for disability insurance benefits, alleging an onset date of July 10, 2009. Administrative Record ("AR") 19, 117-20. The application was denied. AR 19, 67. Guevara requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 76. On June 30, 2011, an ALJ conducted a hearing at which Guevara and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 37-59. On July 21, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 19-32. On February 7, 2012, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 1-4. This action followed.
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this court reviews the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence, or if it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).
"Substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance -- it is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion." Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257. When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must defer to the Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.
A person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such benefits, "only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy." Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20, 21-22, 124 S. Ct. 376, 157 L. Ed. 2d 333 (2003).
The ALJ found that Guevara has the severe impairments of degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, depression/anxiety, obesity, and alcohol abuse. AR 21. Guevara does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals a listing. AR 22. Guevara has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work, except he must be allowed to alternate sitting and standing at will. AR 24. He can occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; can follow simple instructions and make simple decisions; can perform goal-oriented but not production-pace work; and can have occasional contact with supervisors, co-workers, and the ...