United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. SCOTT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Mohammad Prince ("Plaintiff) appeals the final decision
of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denying his
application for Social Security disability insurance benefits
("DIB") and supplemental security income
("SSI"). For the reasons discussed below, the
ALJ's decision is AFFIRMED.
applied for DIB and SSI on December 5, 2013, alleging the
onset of disability on October 11, 2013. Administrative
Record ("AR") 172-93; 194-99. An ALJ conducted a
hearing on September 30, 2015, at which Plaintiff, who was
represented by an attorney, appeared and testified. AR 32-62.
February 8, 2016, the ALJ issued a written decision denying
Plaintiffs request for benefits. AR 14-31. The ALJ found that
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
"diabetes mellitus; degenerative disc disease of the
cervical spine and lumbar spine; and valvular heart disease
with a history of thoracic/abdominal aortic dissection."
AR 19. Notwithstanding his impairments, the ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform the demands of light work with
the additional limits that he can only perform "postural
activities frequently; must avoid concentrated exposure to
hazards such as unprotected heights, open bodies of water,
and moving mechanical parts of equipment, tools, or
machinery." AR 20.
on this RFC and the testimony of a vocational expert
("VE"), the ALJ found that Plaintiff could not
perform his past relevant work as a store laborer, but could
work as a cashier, mail clerk, or sales attendant. AR 25.
Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is not disabled.
sole issue presented is whether the ALJ properly evaluated
Plaintiff's testimony concerning the functionally
limiting effects of his pain. Joint Stipulation
The ALJ Properly Evaluated Plaintiffs Pain
ALJ's assessment of symptom severity and claimant
credibility is entitled to "great weight." See
Weetman v. Sullivan, 877 F.2d 20, 22 (9th Cir.
1989); Nvman v. Heckler, 779 F.2d 528, 531 (9th Cir.
1986). "[T]he ALJ is not required to believe every
allegation of disabling pain, or else disability benefits
would be available for the asking, a result plainly contrary
to 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(5)(A)." Molina v.
Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
evaluating a claimant's subjective symptom testimony, the
ALJ engages in a two-step analysis. Lingerfelter v.
Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035-36 (9th Cir. 2007).
"First, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant has
presented objective medical evidence of an underlying
impairment [that] could reasonably be expected to produce the
pain or other symptoms alleged." Id. at 1036.
If so, the ALJ may not reject claimant's testimony
"simply because there is no showing that the impairment
can reasonably produce the degree of symptom
alleged." Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1282
(9th Cir. 1996).
if the claimant meets the first test, the ALJ may discredit
the claimant's subjective symptom testimony only if he
makes specific findings that support the conclusion.
Berry v. Astrue, 622 F.3d 1228, 1234 (9th Cir.
2010). Absent a finding or affirmative evidence of
malingering, the ALJ must provide "clear and
convincing" reasons for rejecting the claimant's
testimony. Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 834 (9th
Cir. 1995); Ghanim v. Colvin, 763 F.3d 1154, 1163
& n.9 (9th Cir. 2014). The ALJ must consider a
claimant's work record, observations of medical providers
and third parties with knowledge of claimant's
limitations, aggravating factors, functional restrictions
caused by symptoms, effects of medication, and the
claimant's daily activities. Smolen, 80 F.3d at
1283-84 & n.8. "Although lack of medical ...