United States District Court, C.D. California
STEPHANIE M. PERKINS, on behalf of Alfred Earl Perkins deceased, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
August 15, 2016, Stephanie M. Perkins
(“plaintiff”) filed a Complaint on behalf of her
late husband, Alfred Earl Perkins (“claimant”),
seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security's
denial of claimant's application 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;
August 16, 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
January 24, 2013, claimant filed an application for
Disability Insurance Benefits alleging disability beginning
on July 28, 2010 (“alleged onset date”), due to
severe headaches, uncontrollable shaking, high blood
pressure, stress, and problems with memory and concentration.
(Administrative Record (“AR”) 10, 166, 178). The
claimant passed away on October 16, 2014. (AR 10, 175). The
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) examined the
medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was
represented by counsel on behalf of the claimant) and a
vocational expert on January 27, 2015. (AR 26-49).
March 2, 2015, the ALJ determined that the claimant was not
disabled through the date of his death. (AR 10-20).
Specifically, the ALJ found that prior to the claimant's
death: (1) the claimant had engaged in substantial gainful
activity subsequent to the alleged onset date (AR 12-13); (2)
the claimant suffered from the following severe impairments:
diabetes mellitus, seizure disorder, history of kidney
transplantation, obstructive airway disease, lumbago, and
depressive disorder not otherwise specified (AR 13); (2) the
claimant's impairments, considered singly or in
combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed
impairment (AR 13-14); (3) the claimant retained the residual
functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(b)) with additional non- exertional
limitations (AR 14); (4) the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work (AR 18-19); (5) there were
jobs in significant numbers in the national economy that the
claimant could have performed, specifically office helper,
mail clerk, and information clerk (AR 19); and (6) the
claimant's statements regarding the intensity,
persistence, and limiting effects of subjective symptoms were
not entirely credible (AR 15).
30, 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 ...