United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT BACKGROUND
BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Luis Demelo ("Plaintiff") seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner" or "Defendant") denying his applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Barbara A. McAuliffe, United States Magistrate Judge. ( See, Docs. 23, 28, and 31).
FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
On July and August 2008, Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI, alleging disability beginning February 23, 2006. AR 53; 142-150. His applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 145-149; 151-155. Subsequently, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 156-157. ALJ Patrick Hannon presided over three hearings on September 7, 2010 (AR 134-140), March 3, 2011 (121-133), and August 30, 2011 (AR 107-120), and issued an order denying benefits on September 19, 2011. AR 53-65. Plaintiff filed an appeal and submitted additional medical evidence to the Appeals Council. AR 14-19, 49, 314-322; 887-1034. On July 3, 2013, the Appeals Council denied review, rendering that the final decision of the Commissioner. AR 9-12. Plaintiff sought judicial review by commencing the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).
1. Summary of the ALJ's Findings and Decision
At the hearing, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not meet the disability standard. AR 53-65. More particularly, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 23, 2006. AR 55. Further, the ALJ identified class two congestive heart failure with associated cardiac impairments as a severe impairment. However, he found that this impairment alone, or in combination with other impairments, did not meet the listing impairment criteria. AR 57. The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff could perform a full-range of sedentary work. After applying the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, 20 CFR, Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2 ("the Grids"), the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. AR 64-65.
2. The Appeals Council's Decision
After the ALJ issued the decision denying benefits, Plaintiff submitted additional records to the Appeals Council. The records included the following:
Undated letter from Julio Demelo (AR 23-24);
Letter dated March 5, 2013 from Avi Leibovic (AR 315-322);
Medical Records dated July 3, 2011 through July 16, 2012 from Kaweah Delta Medical Center (AR 887-1013);
Medical Records dated July 16, 2012 through July 16, 2012 from Kaweah Delta Medical ...