United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Rose Yang (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of
a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying her application for
supplemental security income under 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 Magistrate Judge Barbara A.
considered the briefing and record in this matter, the Court
finds the decision of the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) to be supported by substantial evidence
in the record as a whole and based upon proper legal
standards. Accordingly, this Court affirms the agency's
determination to deny benefits.
AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
filed an application for disability insurance benefits on
December 26, 2013. AR 166-71. Plaintiff alleged that she became
disabled on February 15, 2012, due to a back injury, right
shoulder pain, major depression, anxiety, arthritis, high
blood pressure, ulcer, insomnia, headache and a mental
disorder. AR 186. Plaintiff's application was denied
initially and on reconsideration. AR 97-99, 106-11.
Subsequently, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ.
ALJ Vincent A. Misenti held a hearing on December 28, 2016,
and issued an order denying benefits on March 10, 2017. AR
21-37, 42-69. Plaintiff sought review of the ALJ's
decision, which the Appeals Council denied, making the
ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. AR
1-5. This appeal followed.
held a hearing on December 28, 2016, in Stockton, California.
Plaintiff appeared with her attorney, Robert Ishikawa, and an
interpreter. Impartial Vocational Expert (“VE”)
Jeff Beeman also appeared. AR 44.
outset of the hearing, the ALJ noted that Plaintiff amended
her onset date to December 11, 2013. AR 45. In response to
questions from the ALJ, Plaintiff testified that she lives
with her daughter, son-in-law and their three children.
Plaintiff has a driver's license and drives once a week.
She has not attempted to work since December 11, 2013. AR
confirmed that she is alleging disability due to a back
disorder. She also has a problem with her right shoulder. Her
back condition causes her sharp pain, which has moved to her
right leg, making it difficult for her to walk. The pain
happens whenever she twists or turns or pushes a chair. For
treatment, she takes pain medication and uses a machine for
massaging her back. When she takes medication and lies down,
her pain will be a four or five out of ten. She has not had
surgery and she has not been prescribed any assistive
devices. However, she uses her own walking cane when she
feels dizzy or wants to walk to the restroom. AR 48-49.
asked about her abilities, Plaintiff testified that she can
lift about four or five pounds and suffers pain when she
carries a bottle of milk. She can sit for 2 hours, stand for
30 minutes and walk about 15 minutes. AR 49-50.
asked about her right shoulder, Plaintiff testified that she
cannot sleep on her right side because of
“pulling.” She feels a hot sensation under her
shoulder and the pain goes down her arm to her right hand.
She has received shots in her shoulder and is now attending
physical therapy. She takes pain medication for her shoulder,
which will reduce her pain to a two or three out of ten. AR
asked about her daily activities, Plaintiff testified that
she cannot take care of the children and cannot do household
chores. She spends a typical day lying down, but she will get
up and walk outside for a while, before returning to lie
down. AR 52.
response to questions from her attorney, Plaintiff testified
that she lies down about seven to eight times per day for one
or two hours each time. She will walk for a while and then
come back to sleep. When she sits for too long, she will have
stabbing pain in her back, it will burn in her lower back and
she will have to get up and walk. The pain goes down to her
right leg, making it feel weak. She uses the cane once a
month, unless the pain is more frequent. She also wears a
brace on her hand because it is weak and tingling. Her doctor
prescribed it. She uses it at night and sometimes as needed
during the day. AR 53- 55.
testified that she also regularly sees a doctor for her
mental health. The medication he prescribes helps her sleep
and helps reduce her depression. Plaintiff reported that she
cannot concentrate on anything and is very forgetful. AR
asked about working in the produce department of a store,
Plaintiff reported that she had to carry boxes of vegetables
and fruit. The vegetables weighed about 40 pounds per box and
the fruit weighed about 50 to 60 pounds per box. AR 56.
asked about other physical issues, Plaintiff testified that
she is incontinent and wears a diaper. If she coughs, she
loses control of her bladder. She coughs due to asthma.
Plaintiff also testified that she has a stomach ulcer that
causes headaches, dizziness and vomiting. AR 56-57.
Plaintiff's testimony, the ALJ elicited testimony from VE
Jeff Beeman. The VE classified Plaintiff's past relevant
work as seamstress, produce weigher, janitor/cleaner, meat
clerk, short-order cook, and farm worker. She also had zero
education and no ESL or any language. AR 58-59. The ALJ asked
the VE hypothetical questions. For the first hypothetical,
the ALJ asked the VE to assume a hypothetical individual with
Plaintiff's past jobs and who is not English speaking,
can perform a light range of work eroded by frequent right
over-the-head reaching. The VE testified that this
hypothetical individual should be able to perform
Plaintiff's past work as short-order cook, the produce
position, sewing/seamstress and janitor as actually and
generally performed in the national economy. AR 64-66.
second hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to consider an
individual that could only stand or walk for four hours total
and lift not more than five pounds. The VE testified that
such an individual would not be employable. AR 66.
third hypothetical, Plaintiff's counsel asked the VE to
add to the first hypothetical that the person could not
understand and remember complex instructions. The VE
testified that this person would be able to perform
Plaintiff's past work as janitor and produce weigher. AR
relevant medical record will be referenced below as necessary
to this Court's decision.