MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
PAUL L. ABRAMS, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff filed this action on November 30, 2012, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments. The parties filed Consents to proceed before the undersigned Magistrate Judge on January 8, 2013, and January 11, 2013. Pursuant to the Court's Order, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation on November 20, 2013, that addresses their positions concerning the disputed issue in the case. The Court has taken the Joint Stipulation under submission without oral argument.
Plaintiff was born on November 14, 1970. [Administrative Record ("AR") at 103, 205, 210.] She has a college education, and past relevant work experience as an actress, assistant supervisor, floater/temp in finance, waitress/hostess, project coordinator, administrative temp, and systems and operations administrator. [AR at 52-55, 88, 321.]
On February 27, 2008, plaintiff filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments, alleging that she has been unable to work since January 1, 2003. [AR at 26, 205-07, 210-11.] After her applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration, plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). [AR at 109, 121-26, 127-31, 133-34.] A hearing was held on December 1, 2008, at which time plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified on her own behalf. [AR at 47-72.] A vocational expert ("VE") also testified. [AR at 70-71.] On April 10, 2009, the ALJ issued a partially favorable decision, concluding that plaintiff was not disabled prior to February 27, 2008, but became disabled on that date and continued to be disabled through the date of the decision. [AR at 109-14.] Plaintiff requested review of the decision with the Appeals Council. [AR at 160.] On September 18, 2010, the Appeals Council granted plaintiff's request for review, vacated the entire decision, including the favorable portion, and remanded for further administrative proceedings. [AR at 116-20.] In its decision, among other things, the Appeals Council noted that the hearing decision "does not evaluate [plaintiff]'s credibility in accordance with [Social Security Ruling 96-7p, " and ordered the ALJ, on remand, to "evaluate [plaintiff]'s subjective complaints and provide rationale in accordance with the disability regulations pertaining to evaluation of symptoms... and [SSR] 96-7p." [AR at 119.]
On April 21, 2011, a second hearing was held before an ALJ. [AR at 73-102.] Plaintiff again appeared and testified, along with a medical expert and a VE. [AR at 76-85, 85-96, 96-102.] On May 17, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled. [AR at 26-40.] When the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's May 17, 2011, decision, that decision became final. [AR at 5-7, 21-22.] This action followed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court has authority to review 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); Drouin v. Sullivan , 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).
In this context, the term "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; see also Drouin , 966 F.2d at 1257. When 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; Hammock v. Bowen , 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989). Where the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the ...