United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER & FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
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
undersigned will recommend that plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment be denied and the Commissioner's
cross-motion for summary judgment be granted.
born in 1959, applied on December 9, 2014 for disability and
disability benefits under Title II, alleging disability
beginning July 23, 2014. Administrative Transcript
(“AT”) 11, 18, 189-195. Plaintiff alleged he was
unable to work due to anxiety disorder. AT 218. In a decision
dated July 18, 2017, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was
not disabled. AT 11-20. 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, 2019.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 23, 2014, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
Depression, anxiety, and asthma.
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 a full range of work at all
exertional levels but with the following nonexertional
limitations: He cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He
can occasionally climb ramps and stairs. He is not able to
work at unprotected heights. He must avoid concentrated
exposure to dust, gases, chemicals, pulmonary irritants, etc.
Mentally, he can perform simple repetitive tasks with no
public interaction. He can occasionally have noncollaborative
interactions with co-workers.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on XX/XX/1959 and was 55 years old,
which is defined as an individual of advanced age, 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.
argues that the ALJ committed the following error in finding
plaintiff not disabled: The ALJ's finding that plaintiff
had the mental RFC to perform simple repetitive tasks with
specified limitations in interacting with others, is not
supported by substantial evidence.
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, 1229-30 (9th Cir. 1987), and may
be set aside only if an improper legal standard was applied
in weighing the evidence. See Burkhart v. Bowen, 856
F.2d 1335, 1338 (9th Cir. 1988).
turning to plaintiff's claim, the undersigned notes the