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Ascencio v. Colvin

United States District Court, Central District of California

November 4, 2014

JOSE ANTONIO ASCENCIO, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY

JOHN E. MCDERMOTT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

PROCEEDINGS

On February 7, 2014, Jose Antonio Ascencio (“Plaintiff” or “Claimant”) filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff’s application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on May 27, 2014. On September 8, 2014, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation (“JS”). The matter is now ready for decision.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before this Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record (“AR”), the Court concludes that the Commissioner’s decision must be affirmed and this case dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Jose Antonio Ascencio is a 56-year-old male who applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits on September 28, 2010, initially alleging disability beginning February 14, 2009. (AR 49.) Plaintiff’s claim was denied initially on January 13, 2011. (AR 49.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) William Ordas on July 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (AR 49.) Plaintiff testified with the assistance of Spanish interpreter Amanda Willis and was represented by counsel. (AR 49.) Vocational expert (“VE”) Sandra Trost, M.A. also appeared and testified at the hearing. (AR 49.)

At the hearing and through his representative, Claimant made a motion to amend his alleged onset date to September 5, 2009. (AR 85.) The ALJ granted this motion. (AR 85.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on August 3, 2011. (AR 49-56.) The Appeals Council denied review on July 19, 2013. (AR 6-8.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, Plaintiff only raises the following disputed issue as a ground for reversal and remand:

1. Whether the ALJ provided clear and convincing reasons for rejecting Jose Ascencio’s testimony.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the ALJ’s decision to determine whether the ALJ’s findings are supported by substantial evidence and free of legal error. Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see also DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991) (ALJ’s disability determination must be supported by substantial evidence and based on the proper legal standards).

Substantial evidence means “‘more than a mere scintilla, ’ but less than a preponderance.” Saelee v. Chater, 94 F.3d 520, 521-22 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Substantial evidence is ‚Äúsuch relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a ...


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