United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
G ROSENBERG United States Magistrate Judge.
filed this action on August 23, 2016. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the
magistrate judge. (Dkt. Nos. 10, 12.) On June 1, 2016, the
parties filed a Joint Stipulation (“JS”) that
addressed the disputed issue. The court has taken the matter
under submission without oral argument.
reviewed the entire file, the court affirms the decision of
January 2013, Valdez filed applications for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income alleging
an onset date of November 17, 2010. Administrative Record
(“AR”) 9. The applications were denied initially
and on reconsideration. AR 9, 64-65, 92-93. Valdez requested
a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). On January 7, 2015, the ALJ conducted a
hearing at which Valdez and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. AR 22-41. On April 10, 2015,
the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 6-17. On July
13, 2016, the Appeals Council denied the request for review.
AR 1-3. This action followed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this court reviews 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. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523
(9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Drouin v. Sullivan,
966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).
evidence” means “more than a mere scintilla but
less than a preponderance - it is such relevant evidence that
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the
conclusion.” Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In
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. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257.
When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational
interpretation, the court must defer to the
Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at
person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such
benefits, “only if his physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable
to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age,
education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of
substantial gainful work which exists in the national
economy.” Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20,
21-22, 124 S.Ct. 376, 157 L.Ed.2d 333 (2003).
The ALJ's Findings
found that Valdez met the insured status requirements through
December 31, 2015. AR 11. Following the five-step sequential
analysis applicable to disability determinations,
Lounsburry v. Barnhart, 468 F.3d 1111, 1114 (9th
Cir. 2006),  the ALJ found that Valdez had the severe
impairments of obesity; diabetes mellitus; neuropathy and
chronic kidney disease. AR 11. She did not meet or equal a
listing. AR 14. She had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform medium work except that she
could lift/carry 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds
frequently; and sit, stand and/or walk six hours in an
eight-hour workday. She must avoid jobs requiring good
binocular vision and, as a safety precaution, must avoid work
at unprotected heights or around dangerous unguarded moving
machinery. AR 14. She was capable of performing past relevant
work as a companion, as actually and generally performed. AR