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Gates v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

October 15, 2014

KIMBERLY GATES, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

KENLY KIYA KATO, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Kimberly Gates seeks review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner" or "Agency") denying her applications for Title II Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's decision is REVERSED and this action is REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this Order.

I.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On December 8, 2010, Plaintiff filed separate applications for DIB and SSI. Administrative Record ("AR") at 147, 155. On April 6, 2011, the Agency denied the applications. Id. at 55-56. On July 20, 2011, after reconsideration, the Agency affirmed the denial of the applications. Id. at 57-58.

On July 26, 2011, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). Id. at 81. On September 19, 2012, a hearing was held before ALJ Paul Colter. Id. at 34. On October 5, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying Plaintiff's applications. Id. at 27.

On November 16, 2012, Plaintiff asked the Agency's Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision. Id. at 8. On November 13, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at 1.

On January 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant action. This matter is before the Court on the parties' Joint Stipulation ("JS"), filed July 16, 2014, which the Court has taken under submission without oral argument.

II.

STANDARD FOR EVALUATING DISABILITY

In order to qualify for DIB or SSI, a claimant must demonstrate a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that (1) prevents him from engaging in substantial gainful activity, and (2) is expected to result in death or to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months. Reddick v. Chater , 157 F.3d 715, 721 (9th Cir. 1998). The impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work he previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. Apfel , 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999).

To decide if a claimant is disabled, and therefore entitled to benefits, an ALJ conducts a five-step inquiry. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. The steps are:

(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity? If so, the claimant is found not disabled. ...

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