United States District Court, C.D. California
JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN, Magistrate Judge.
On May 12, 2014, plaintiff Paul Palomo ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of plaintiff's application for benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, respectively ("Plaintiff's Motion") and ("Defendant's Motion"). The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15; May 14, 2014 Case Management Order ¶ 5.
Based on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED. The findings of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") are supported by substantial evidence and are free from material error.
II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
On July 27, 2010, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income. (Administrative Record ("AR") 20, 114). Plaintiff asserted that he became disabled on October 5, 2009, due to cervical radiculopathy, lumbar radiculopathy, lumbar spine problems, right ankle sprain/strain, right foot sprain/strain, chronic pain, thoraculompathy [sic], hypertension, and major depressive disorder. (AR 20, 128). The ALJ examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel) and a vocational expert on May 1, 2012. (AR 44-72).
On May 18, 2012, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 20-31). Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: lumbosacral neuritis, neck sprain/strain, right ankle and foot pain, hand numbness, cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, gastrointestinal esophageal disease, and depression (AR 22); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 22-23); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b)) with additional limitations (AR 23-24); (4) plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work (AR 30); (5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically order clerk, assembler, and inspector (AR 30-31); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding his limitations were not credible to the extent they were inconsistent with the ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (AR 25).
The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review. (AR 6-11).
III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Sequential Evaluation Process
To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that the claimant is unable "to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." Molina v. Astrue , 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work the claimant previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial gainful employment that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. Apfel , 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)).
In assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is to follow a five-step sequential evaluation process:
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not, proceed to step two.
(2) Is the claimant's alleged impairment sufficiently severe to limit the claimant's ability to work? If not, the claimant is not ...