United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. SCOTT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Natasha Shock (“Plaintiff”) appeals the final
decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
denying her 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 6, 2012, alleging
disability commencing October 27, 2007. Administrative Record
(“AR”) 193-200. An ALJ conducted a hearing on
January 27, 2015, at which Plaintiff, who was represented by
an attorney, appeared and testified. AR 37-56. At the
hearing, Plaintiff amended her alleged disability onset date
to December 6, 2012. AR 40.
1, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision denying
Plaintiff's request for benefits. AR 18-36. The ALJ found
that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
depression, anxiety, greater trochanteric bursitis of the
hips, and an ankle sprain. AR 24. Notwithstanding her
impairments, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
medium work with the following additional limitations: she
can lift and/or carry fifty pounds occasionally and
twenty-five pounds frequently; she can sit, stand, and/or
walk for six hours in an eight-hour workday; she can
frequently crouch and crawl, and she can perform unskilled
work with frequent coworker and public contact. AR 26. Based
on this RFC and the testimony of a vocational expert
(“VE”), the ALJ found that Plaintiff could not
return to her past relevant work as a key holder, retail
sales clerk, or check cashier, but that she could find work
as a routing clerk, bagger, or sewing machine operator. AR
30-32. Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is not
disabled. AR 32.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), a district court may review the
Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The ALJ's
findings and decision should be upheld if they are free from
legal error and are supported by substantial evidence based
on the record as a whole. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971);
Parra v. Astrue, 481 F.3d 742, 746 (9th Cir. 2007).
Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a
reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401;
Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th
Cir. 2007). It is more than a scintilla, but less than a
preponderance. Lingenfelter, 504 F.3d at 1035
(citing Robbins v. Comm'r of SSA, 466 F.3d 880,
882 (9th Cir. 2006)). To determine whether substantial
evidence supports a finding, the reviewing court “must
review the administrative record as a whole, weighing both
the evidence that supports and the evidence that detracts
from the Commissioner's conclusion.” Reddick v.
Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 720 (9th Cir. 1998). “If the
evidence can reasonably support either affirming or
reversing, ” the reviewing court “may not
substitute its judgment” for that of the Commissioner.
Id. at 720-21.
determining a claimant's RFC, the ALJ should consider
those limitations for which there is support in the record,
but the ALJ need not consider properly rejected evidence of
subjective complaints. Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d
1211, 1217 (9th Cir. 2005) (“Preparing a
function-by-function analysis for medical conditions or
impairments that the ALJ found neither credible nor supported
by the record is unnecessary.”); Batson v.
Comm'r of SSA, 359 F.3d 1190, 1197 (9th Cir. 2004)
(“The ALJ was not required to incorporate evidence from
the opinions of Batson's treating physicians, which were
decision of the ALJ will not be reversed for errors that are
harmless.” Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676,
679 (9th Cir. 2005). Generally, an error is harmless if it
either “occurred during a procedure or step the ALJ was
not required to perform, ” or if it “was
inconsequential to the ultimate non-disability
determination.” Stout v. Comm'r of SSA,
454 F.3d 1050, 1055 (9th Cir. 2006).
raises one claim of error: that the ALJ did not properly
consider Plaintiff's testimony. Joint Stipulation
(“JS”) at 3.
The ALJ properly discounted Plaintiff's subjective
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.
Nyman 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
evaluating a claimant's subjective symptom testimony, the
ALJ engages in a two-step analysis. Lingerfelter,
504 F.3d at 1035-36. “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 ...