United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DIRECTING ENTRY OF JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND AGAINST
S. AUSTIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Adelina Barcelos Perez (“Plaintiff”) seeks
judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security (“Commissioner” or
“Defendant”) denying her application for
supplemental security income pursuant to Title XVI of the
Social Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court
on the parties' briefs which were submitted without oral
argument to the Honorable Gary S. Austin, United States
Magistrate Judge. See Docs. 15, 16 and 17. Having
reviewed the record as a whole, the Court finds that the
ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence and
applicable law. Accordingly, Plaintiff's appeal is
August 25, 2008, an Administrative Law Judge denied
Plaintiff's prior application for supplemental security
income. AR 21, 69-73. The ALJ found that Plaintiff had no
severe impairment and was not disabled. AR 71-73.
February 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed the pending application
for disability insurance benefits alleging disability
beginning April 21, 2003. AR 21. The Commissioner denied the
application initially on September 4, 2014, and upon
reconsideration on March 13, 2015. AR 21. On May 17, 2015,
Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge. AR 21.
Law Judge Matilda Suhr presided over an administrative
hearing on June 5, 2017. AR 49-128. Plaintiff appeared with
the assistance of an attorney and an interpreter. AR 45.
Impartial vocational expert Judith Nazarian (the
“VE”) also testified. AR 45.
10, 2017, the ALJ denied Plaintiff's application. AR
21-28. The Appeals Council denied review on May 14, 2018. AR
1-4. On July 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this
Court. Doc. 1.
Plaintiff's Testimony and Reports
Plaintiff (born October 27, 1961) lived in a home with
several adult children and a seventeen-year-old daughter. AR
50. Plaintiff completed the eighth grade in Mexico. AR 50.
She had not worked since 2003 when she was injured while
working at a poultry processing plant. AR 50-51. Plaintiff
continues to have muscle pain (7/10) in her mid-back, which
she treats with medication. AR 56.
of Plaintiff's back pain, her children did most of the
work around the house. AR 51. Plaintiff went to the grocery
store and helped the children with cleaning and washing. AR
51-52. Plaintiff could “not lift anything” but
could pour milk from a gallon container using two hands. AR
52-53. She was able to perform her own personal care, shop
several times weekly, cook, do laundry, iron and drive. AR
52, 54, 277, 278, 279. /// On a typical day, Plaintiff woke
at five o'clock, made her daughter's breakfast and
drove her daughter to school. AR 54, 277. When she returned
home, Plaintiff rested, did light housework or watered her
plants. AR 54. Plaintiff enjoyed going out to eat and for
walks. AR 280. In November 2014, Plaintiff reported that she
was caring for a sick son, including taking him to the
doctor, getting his medicine, cleaning and cooking for him.
for a few instances of unusual test results or acute minor
illness, Plaintiff saw her primary care physician, Johnny Y.
Fong, M.D., approximately monthly from February 1, 2013
through March 17, 2017. AR 404-64, 488-504. Dr. Fong treated
Plaintiff for allergic rhinitis, hypertension, arthritis and
hyperlipidemia, and frequently instructed Plaintiff to lose
August 7, 2014, agency physician A. Khong, M.D., found no
material change in Plaintiff's physical condition since
the earlier hearing decision. AR 78. The agency determined
that Plaintiff was not disabled. AR 81. On reconsideration,
agency physician A. Resnik, M.D., agreed. AR 88.
Consultative Orthopedic Examination
Dale H. Van Kirk, M.D., conducted a comprehensive orthopedic
evaluation of Plaintiff on July 22, 2014. AR 388-92. Lumbar
spine x-rays requested by Dr. Van Kirk revealed transitional
vertebrae at the ...