United States District Court, C.D. California
JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN, Magistrate Judge.
On June 26, 2014, plaintiff Janis Stephenson ("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; July 2, 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 are supported by substantial evidence and are free from material error.
II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
On October 26, 2005, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income. (Administrative Record ("AR") 611). Plaintiff asserted that she became disabled on June 1, 1999 (which she subsequently amended to October 26, 2005), due to ankle and back problems, obesity, and anxiety. (AR 136, 401).
Plaintiff currently appeals an administrative decision (the third in the case) issued after this Court entered judgment reversing and remanding the case, and the Appeals Council, in turn, assigned a new Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") to conduct further proceedings. (AR 10-20, 74-81, 401, 452-65). On remand, the ALJ examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel) and a vocational expert on March 1, 2012. (AR 424-51).
On May 23, 2012, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 401-16). Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: osteoarthritis of the ankles and great toes bilaterally, asthma, obesity, depression, general anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (AR 405); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 407); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b)) with additional limitations (AR 409); (4) plaintiff could not perform her past relevant work (AR 414); (5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically small parts assembler, production assembly, and hand packager (AR 415-16); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding her limitations were not credible to the extent they were inconsistent with the ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (AR 412).
The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review of the ALJ's May 23, 2012 decision. (AR 393).
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 ...