United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
LAURIE C. EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. ABRAMS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
filed this action on October 9, 2015, seeking review of the
Commissioner's denial of her applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) payments. The parties
filed Consents to proceed before the undersigned Magistrate
Judge on November 10, 2015, and December 7, 2015. Pursuant to
the Court's Order, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation
(alternatively “JS”) on March 23, 2017, that
addresses their positions concerning the disputed issue in
the case. The Court has taken the Joint Stipulation under
submission without oral argument.
was born on May 29, 1971. [Administrative Record
(“AR”) at 155, 164, 976.] She has no past
relevant work experience. [AR at 436, 976.]
January 8, 2009, plaintiff filed an application for SSI
payments, and on January 14, 2009, she filed an application
for a period of disability and DIB, alleging in both that she
has been unable to work since January 1, 2001. [AR at 155-61,
164-70.] After her applications were denied initially and
upon reconsideration, and after a hearing, an unfavorable
decision was issued on September 30, 2010. [AR at 481-87.]
Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court in case number ED
CV 12-1672-SH, and on June 25, 2013, the Magistrate Judge
assigned to that matter remanded it for further proceedings.
[AR at 523-30.] On August 4, 2014, a hearing was held after
remand before a different ALJ, at which plaintiff appeared
represented by an attorney and testified on her own behalf.
[AR at 420-44.] A vocational expert (“VE”) also
testified. [AR at 436-42.] On October 15, 2014, the ALJ
issued a decision concluding that plaintiff was not under a
disability from January 1, 2001, the alleged onset date,
through October 15, 2014, the date of the decision. [AR at
977.] When the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request
for review on August 21, 2015 [AR at 412-16], the ALJ's
decision became the final decision of the Commissioner.
See Sam v. Astrue, 550 F.3d 808, 810 (9th Cir. 2008)
(per curiam) (citations omitted). This action
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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. Berry v. Astrue, 622
F.3d 1228, 1231 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).
evidence means more than a mere scintilla but less than a
preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Carmickle v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 533 F.3d
1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation and internal quotation
marks omitted); Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 720
(9th Cir. 1998) (same). When 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. Mayes
v. Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459 (9th Cir. 2001)
(citation omitted); see Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 528 F.3d 1194, 1198 (9th Cir. 2008) (“[A]
reviewing court must consider the entire record as a whole
and may not affirm simply by isolating a specific quantum of
supporting evidence.”) (citation and internal quotation
marks omitted). “Where evidence is susceptible to more
than one rational interpretation, the ALJ's decision
should be upheld.” Ryan, 528 F.3d at 1198
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see
Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir.
2006) (“If the evidence can support either affirming or
reversing the ALJ's conclusion, [the reviewing court] may
not substitute [its] judgment for that of the ALJ.”)
EVALUATION OF DISABILITY
are “disabled” for purposes of receiving Social
Security benefits if they are unable to engage in any
substantial gainful activity owing to a physical or mental
impairment that is expected to result in death or which has
lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at
least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A);
Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir.
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