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Donato v. Berryhill

United States District Court, C.D. California

July 5, 2017

ANA L. DONATO, on behalf of SPD, a Minor Child, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          VICTOR E. BIANCHINI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         In June of 2014, Plaintiff Ana Donato, the mother and natural guardian of SPD (“Claimant”), filed an application on Claimant's behalf for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits under the Social Security Act. The Commissioner of Social Security denied the application.[1]

         Plaintiff, represented by Irene Ruzin, Esq., commenced this action seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405 (g) and 1383 (c)(3). The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 12, 14).

         On December 6, 2016, this case was referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B). (Docket No. 20).

         II. BACKGROUND

         The procedural history may be summarized as follows:

         Plaintiff is the mother of Claimant, a minor child. On June 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI benefits on Claimant's behalf, alleging disability beginning March 29, 2001. (T at 115-23).[2] The application was denied initially and Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). On February 3, 2016, a hearing was held before ALJ James Delphey. (T at 31).

         Claimant and Plaintiff appeared with an attorney. (T at 31). Claimant testified (T at 34-48), as did Plaintiff. (T at 48-63).

         On February 24, 2016, the ALJ issued a written decision denying the application for benefits and finding that Claimant was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (T at 12-30). The ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final decision on June 16, 2016, when the Social Security Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (T at 1-6).

         On July 8, 2016, Plaintiff, acting by and through her attorney and on Claimant's behalf, commenced this action by filing a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. (Docket No. 1). The Commissioner interposed an Answer on October 24, 2016. (Docket No. 16).

         The parties filed a Joint Stipulation on April 14, 2017. (Docket No. 24).

         After reviewing the record, pleadings, and Joint Stipulation, the Commissioner's motion is granted, Plaintiff's motion is denied, and this case is dismissed.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Sequential Evaluation Process

         An individual under the age of eighteen (18) is disabled, and thus eligible for SSI benefits, if he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations, and 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. 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i). However, that definitional provision excludes from coverage any ...


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