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Bedsaul v. Colvin

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 23, 2013

TRACY ANNE BEDSAUL, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ALICIA G. ROSENBERG, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Tracy Anne Bedsaul filed this action on March 30, 2012. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on May 14, 2012 and September 19, 2103. (Dkt. Nos. 11, 18.) On January 7, 2013, 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 decision of the Commissioner is reversed and this matter is remanded for payment of benefits for the period beginning April 3, 2009, and for further proceedings as to whether to make representative payments and selection of a representative payee, as appropriate.

I.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 8, 2007, Bedsaul filed an application for supplemental security income, alleging a disability onset date of July 1, 1997. Administrative Record ("AR") 12. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 12, 57-58. On April 29, 2009, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing at which Bedsaul, a vocational expert ("VE"), and a certified addiction specialist appearing as a lay witness on Bedsaul's behalf testified. AR 27-56. On May 20, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 9-20. On July 20, 2009, the Appeals Council denied Bedsaul's request for review. AR 1-4.

Bedsaul filed an action in the Central District. On April 14, 2011, this court filed a Report recommending that the action be remanded to the Commissioner for reconsideration of Bedsaul's residual functional capacity ("RFC"), her credibility and the treating psychiatrist's opinion. AR 456-68. On May 31, 2011, the district court adopted this court's Report and Recommendation, entered judgment for Bedsaul and remanded the action to the Commissioner for further proceedings. AR 455.

On October 17, 2011, the Appeals Council vacated the ALJ's decision and remanded the case to an ALJ for further proceedings. AR 471. The Appeals Council also combined Bedsaul's claim with a subsequent claim for supplemental security income filed by Bedsaul on August 11, 2009. AR 453, 471; JS 4.

On December 12, 2011, the same ALJ conducted a hearing pursuant to the remand order and the subsequent claim for benefits. Bedsaul and a VE testified at the hearing. AR 384-411. On January 13, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 342-52.

This action followed.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the 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 ...


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