United States District Court, E.D. California
DALE A. DROZD, Magistrate Judge.
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 will be granted, defendant's cross-motion will be denied, the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") is reversed, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this order.
On June 2, 2010, plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act ("the Act") alleging disability beginning on January 1, 2006. (Transcript ("Tr.") at 22, 60-61.) Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. (Id. at 62-65, 71-75.) Thereafter, plaintiff requested a hearing and a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") on November 29, 2011. (Id. at 42.) Plaintiff was represented by an attorney and testified at the administrative hearing. (Id. at 42-43.) In a decision issued on December 16, 2011, the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled. (Id. at 37.)
The ALJ entered the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2011.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1, 2006, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1520(b) and 20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: depression; anxiety; alcohol addiction (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. 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 404.1520(d)).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that, based on all of the impairments, including the substance use disorder, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: she is limited to jobs involving simple, routine, repetitive tasks with occasional public contact. She has moderate limitation in the ability to understand, remember and carryout detailed instructions or tasks and to complete a normal workday and workweek without interruptions from psychologically based symptoms and to perform at a consistent pace without an unreasonable number and length of rest periods. She has moderate limitation in the ability to interact appropriately with the general public or customers and in her ability to accept instructions and to respond appropriately to criticism from supervisors.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on July 15, 1950 and was 55 years old, which is defined as an individual of advanced age, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
9. The claimant's acquired job skills do not transfer to other occupations within the residual functional capacity defined above (20 CFR 404.1568).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity based on all of the impairments, including the substance use disorder, there are no jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1560(c) and 404.1566).
11. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the remaining limitations would cause more than a minimal impact on the claimant's ability to perform basic work activities; therefore, the claimant would continue to have a severe impairment or combination of impairments.
12. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the claimant would not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals any of the impairments listed in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d)).
13. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the claimant would have the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: she has no exertional limitations, but is limited to jobs involving simple, routine, repetitive tasks with occasional public contract.
14. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the claimant would continue to be unable to perform past ...