United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
29, 2016, Tania Alcaraz (“plaintiff”) filed a
Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of Social
Security's denial of plaintiff's applications for
benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions
for summary judgment, respectively (“Plaintiff's
Motion”) and (“Defendant's Motion”).
The Court has taken both motions under submission without
oral argument. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15; July
1, 2016 Case Management Order ¶ 5.
on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision
of the Commissioner is REVERSED AND REMANDED for further
proceedings consistent with this Memorandum Opinion and Order
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
April 5, 2012, plaintiff filed applications for Supplemental
Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits alleging
disability beginning on January 9, 2011, due to mild mental
retardation and “major depression disorder.”
(Administrative Record (“AR”) 19, 204, 208, 238).
The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) examined the
medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was
represented by counsel) and a vocational expert on July 21,
2014. (AR 47-69).
October 1, 2014, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 19-27).
Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: depression, and borderline
intellectual functioning (AR 21); (2) plaintiff's
impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not
meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 22); (3)
plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to
perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, but
was “limited to the performance of jobs that require no
more than the completion of simple repetitive tasks”
(AR 23); (4) plaintiff was capable of performing past
relevant work as a grocery bagger or a sweeper/cleaner (AR
25); (5) alternatively, there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff
could perform, specifically laundry worker, and industrial
cleaner (AR 25-26); and (6) plaintiff's statements
regarding the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of
subjective symptoms were not entirely credible (AR 23).
3, 2016, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's
application for review. (AR 1).
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
Sequential Evaluation Process
qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that
the claimant is unable “to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result
in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir.
2012) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)) (internal
quotation marks omitted). The impairment must render the
claimant incapable of performing the work the claimant
previously performed and incapable of performing any other
substantial gainful employment that exists in the national
economy. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th
Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)).
assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is required
to use the following five-step sequential evaluation process:
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful
activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not,
proceed to step two.
(2) Is the claimant's alleged impairment sufficiently
severe to limit the claimant's ability to work? If not,
the claimant is not ...