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Castillo v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 27, 2017

JOSEPH CASTILLO, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying an application for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (“Act”). For the reasons discussed below, the court will deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and grant the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, born October 15, 1992, applied on April 26, 2011 for SSI, alleging disability beginning May 1, 2006. Administrative Transcript (“AT”) 18, 249. Plaintiff alleged he was unable to work due to mental retardation. AT 109. The Social Security Administration denied this claim both initially and on reconsideration. AT 18. In a decision dated April 10, 2013, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled.[1] AT 120-124. On March 15, 2014, the Appeals Council granted plaintiff's request for review and vacated the ALJ's April 2013 decision. AT 145-148. The Appeals Council also remanded plaintiff's SSI claim to the ALJ for a new hearing, further development of the record, and a new decision. AT 148.

         On remand, in a decision dated September 8, 2014, the ALJ again found plaintiff not disabled. AT 14-41. The ALJ made the following findings (citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 26, 2011, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairment: borderline intellectual functioning. The claimant has the following medically determinable impairments that are not severe: depression, anxiety and obesity.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: the claimant is able to understand, remember and carry out no more than one to two step job instructions but can maintain concentration, persistence and pace for simple job tasks and can interact appropriately with supervisors, coworkers and the public.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was born on October 15, 1992 and was 18 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed.
7. The claimant has at least a high-school education and is able to communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant does not have past relevant work.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform.
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since April 26, 2011, the date the application was filed.

AT 22-41.

         ISSUES PRESENTED

         Plaintiff argues that the ALJ committed the following errors in finding plaintiff not disabled: (1) the ALJ erred in finding that plaintiff did not have a presumptively disabling impairment, as she improperly evaluated the medical evidence; and (2) the ALJ failed to base her step five finding on the correct hypothetical limitations.

         LEGAL ...


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