United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
SUZANNE H. SEGAL, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Zepeda Castillo (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
seeking to overturn the decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”) denying his application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). The
parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned
United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c). For the reasons stated below, the decision of the
Commissioner is REVERSED and REMANDED for further
January 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB
claiming his disability began on December 22, 2010.
(Administrative Record (“AR”) 222-23).
Plaintiff's DIB application was denied both initially on
May 31, 2013 and upon reconsideration on October 25, 2013.
(AR 120-25, 127-32). Plaintiff then requested a hearing which
was held before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Dana E. McDonald on January 23, 2015. (AR 74-88). ALJ
McDonald held a second hearing on August 20, 2015. (AR
39-73). On September 22, 2015, ALJ McDonald issued an
unfavorable decision, finding Plaintiff able to perform light
work with some additional limitations. (AR 19-38). On October
29, 2015, Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's
decision before the Appeals Council. (AR 17-18). On December
12, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review and the ALJ's decision became the final
decision of the Commissioner. (AR 1-7).
FIVE-STEP SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION PROCESS
qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must demonstrate
a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that
prevents him from engaging in substantial gainful
activityand that is expected to result in death or
to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months.
Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 721 (9th Cir.
1998)(citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)). The impairment
must render the claimant incapable of performing the work he
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)).
decide if a claimant is entitled to benefits, an ALJ conducts
a five-step inquiry. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520,
416.920. The steps are:
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful
activity? If so, the claimant is found not disabled. If not,
proceed to step two.
(2) Is the claimant's impairment severe? If not, the
claimant is found not disabled. If so, proceed to step three.
(3) Does the claimant's impairment meet or equal one of a
list of specific impairments described in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1? If so, the claimant is found disabled.
If not, proceed to step four.
(4) Is the claimant capable of performing his past work? If
so, the claimant is found not disabled. If not, proceed to
(5) Is the claimant able to do any other work? If not, the
claimant is found disabled. If so, the claimant is ...