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 May 21, 1962, applied on February 17, 2010 for SSI,
alleging disability beginning February 2, 2009.
Administrative Transcript (“AT”) 174-178.
Plaintiff alleged she was unable to work due to a concussion
in 2004, poor memory, depression, and chronic headaches. AT
106. In a decision dated April 13, 2012, the ALJ determined
that plaintiff was not disabled. AT 28-40. Plaintiff sought
review of this decision in a federal case,
Cooper-Belanger v. Colvin, No 2:14-cv-0533 DAD (E.D.
Cal.), and on September 8, 2015, the court reversed the
Commissioner's decision and remanded for further
administrative proceedings. (AT 655-669.) The court noted
that “the ALJ's treatment of plaintiff's
subjective testimony was plaintiff's sole challenge to
the ALJ's opinion presented in this action.” (AT
668.) As to the scope of remand, the court instructed:
“On remand, if the ALJ again finds plaintiff to be less
than credible, the ALJ shall offer specific, clear and
convincing reasons for doing so.” (AT 668.) The Appeals
Council subsequently vacated the ALJ's 2012 decision and
remanded the case for a new decision consistent with the
court's order. (AT 673.)
second hearing on plaintiff's claim for benefits, on
December 15, 2016, the ALJ issued a second decision
determining that plaintiff was not disabled. (AT 577-591.)
The ALJ made the following findings (citations to 20 C.F.R.
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2012.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity during the period from her alleged onset date of
February 2, 2009 through her date last insured of December
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: headaches, depression, and
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did 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, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
light work, simple repetitive tasks with no frequent public
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on May 21, 1962, which defined as a
younger individual age 18-49, on the date last insured.
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. Through the date last insured, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
could have performed.
argues that the ALJ failed to articulate legally sufficient
reasons for discounting her subjective complaints.