United States District Court, C.D. California
WENDY A. SOUTHARD, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ALICIA G. ROSENBERG, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Wendy A. Southard filed this action on September 24, 2014. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge. (Dkt. Nos. 9, 10.) On March 31, 2015, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") that addressed the disputed issues. The court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument.
Having reviewed the entire file, the court affirms the decision of the Commissioner.
On March 8, 2012, Southard filed an application for disability insurance benefits, alleging an onset date of December 31, 2008. Administrative Record ("AR") 113-16. The applications were denied. AR 10, 71-72. Southard requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 78-79. On January 9, 2013, the ALJ conducted a hearing at which Southard, two medical experts, and a vocational expert testified. AR 24-40. On February 19, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 10-20. On August 20, 2014, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 1-3. This action followed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence, or if it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).
"Substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance - it is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion." Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257. When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must defer to the Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.
A person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such benefits, "only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy." Barnhart v. Thomas, ...