United States District Court, E.D. California
CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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
born June 7, 1982, applied on October 23, 2012 for SSI,
alleging disability beginning May 30, 2011. Administrative
Transcript (“AT”) 192-194. Plaintiff alleged she
was unable to work due to migraines, arm problems, and
depression. AT 126. In a decision dated April 13, 2015, the
ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled. AT 18-29. The ALJ
made the following findings (citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since May 30, 2011, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: right
cubital tunnel syndrome; carpal tunnel syndrome (right)
status post-surgery; bilateral overuse syndrome; mild carpal
tunnel syndrome (left); migraines; and depression.
4. 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.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work, except she can
frequently push and pull with the upper extremities. She can
never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She can
occasionally climb ramps and stairs. She can occasionally
balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. She can
occasionally handle and finger with upper extremities. She
can have no more than occasional typing on a keyboard. She
can understand, remember, and carry out simple job
instructions. She can maintain concentration, persistence,
and pace for simple job tasks. She can interact appropriately
with supervisors, coworkers, and the public.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on June 7, 1982 and was 28 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the alleged disability onset date.
8. The claimant has at least a high-school education and is
able to communicate in English.
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is ‘not disabled' whether or not
the claimant has transferable job skills.
10. 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.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from May 30, 2011, through the
date of this decision.
argues that the ALJ committed the following errors in finding
plaintiff not disabled: (1) the ALJ improperly weighed the
medical evidence; (2) the ALJ improperly rejected
plaintiff's testimony; (3) the ALJ improperly rejected
lay witness testimony; and (4) the ALJ's hypothetical
question to the vocational expert was invalid.
court reviews the Commissioner's decision to determine
whether (1) it is based on proper legal standards pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), and (2) substantial evidence in the
record as a whole supports it. Tackett v. Apfel, 180
F.3d 1094, 1097 (9th Cir. 1999). Substantial evidence is more
than a mere scintilla, but less than a preponderance.
Connett v. Barnhart, 340 F.3d 871, 873 (9th Cir.
2003) (citation omitted). It means “such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d
625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007), quoting Burch v. Barnhart,
400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005). “The ALJ is
responsible for determining credibility, resolving conflicts
in medical testimony, and resolving ambiguities.”
Edlund v. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir.
2001) (citations omitted). “The court will uphold the
ALJ's conclusion when the evidence is susceptible to more
than one rational interpretation.” Tommasetti v.
Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th Cir. 2008).
record as a whole must be considered, Howard v.
Heckler, 782 F.2d 1484, 1487 (9th Cir. 1986), and both
the evidence that supports and the evidence that detracts
from the ALJ's conclusion weighed. See Jones v.
Heckler, 760 F.2d 993, 995 (9th Cir. 1985). The court
may not affirm the ALJ's decision simply by isolating a
specific quantum of supporting evidence. Id.;
see also Hammock v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th
Cir. 1989). If substantial evidence supports the
administrative findings, or if there is conflicting evidence
supporting a finding of either disability or nondisability,
the finding of the ALJ is conclusive, see Sprague v.
Bowen, 812 F.2d 1226, ...