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Olivas v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 9, 2015

JAMES M. OLIVAS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

KENLY KIYA KATO, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff James M. Olivas has filed a Complaint seeking review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner" or "Agency") denying his 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 April 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed separate applications for DIB and SSI. Administrative Record ("AR") at 20. The applications were denied initially on August 29, 2011, and upon reconsideration on February 22, 2012. Id.

On March 22, 2012, Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). Id. On June 3, 2013, a hearing was held before ALJ Troy Silva. Id. On June 18, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision denying Plaintiff's applications. Id. at 31.

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

On June 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint. On November 5, 2014, Defendant filed an Answer. On December 25, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Support of the Complaint. On January 26, 2015, Defendant filed a Memorandum in Support of the Answer. This matter is now ready for decision.

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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