United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
SUZANNE H. SEGAL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Hector Mendoza (“Plaintiff”) seeks review of the
final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (the “Commissioner” or the
“Agency”) denying his application for disability
benefits. The undersigned United States Magistrate Judge has
jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the
reasons stated below, the decision of the Commissioner is
REVERSED and REMANDED for further administrative proceedings
consistent with this decision.
filed an application for disability benefits on March 14,
2011, alleging a disability starting on January 8, 2009.
(Administrative Record (“AR”) 16). Plaintiff had
previously been denied social security benefits in 2007.
March 7, 2014, Plaintiff had a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge, Cynthia Minter (“ALJ”).
(AR 34). Vocational expert (“VE”) Randi Headrick
also testified. (AR 34, 49-54). On October 31, 2014 the ALJ
issued a decision denying benefits. (AR 27). Plaintiff filed
a complaint for review of the Commissioner's unfavorable
decision on June 4, 2016. (Dkt. No. 1).
THE FIVE-STEP SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION PROCESS
qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must demonstrate
a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that
prevents him from engaging in substantial gainful activity
and that 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) (citing 42
U.S.C. § 423 (d)(1)(A)). The impairment must render the
claimant incapable of performing the work he previously
performed and incapable of performing any other substantial
gainful employment in the national economy. Tackett v.
Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing 42
U.S.C. § 423 (d)(2)(A)).
decide if a claimant is entitled to benefits, an ALJ conducts
a five-step inquiry. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520,
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful
activity? If so, the claimant is found not disabled. If not,
proceed to step two.
(2) Is the claimant's impairment severe? If not, the
claimant is found not disabled. If so, proceed to step three.
(3) Does the claimant's impairment meet or equal one of
the specific impairments described in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1? If so, the claimant is found disabled.
If not, proceed to step four.
(4) Is the claimant capable of performing his past work? If
so, the claimant is found not disabled. If not, proceed to
(5) Is the claimant able to do any other work? If not, the
claimant is found disabled. If so, the claimant is ...