United States District Court, D. Arizona
Michelle H. Burns United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff David Eugene Register's
appeal from the Social Security Administration's final
decision to deny his claims for disability insurance benefits
and supplemental security income. The Commissioner has filed
a Brief Requesting Remand conceding that the decision of the
ALJ is not supported by substantial evidence, and requesting
that the Court remand this case for further administrative
proceedings pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). After reviewing the administrative record and the
arguments of the parties, the Court now issues the following
filed applications for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income pursuant to Titles II and XVI of
the Social Security Act in July 2011, alleging disability
beginning August 7, 2009. (Transcript of Administrative
Record (“Tr.”) at 13.) These claims were denied
initially and upon reconsideration. (Tr. at 13.) After a
subsequent hearing, an ALJ issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's claims. (Tr. at 29-54, 10-28.) The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, thereby
making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. Plaintiff sought judicial review of the
ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must affirm the ALJ's findings if the findings are
supported by substantial evidence and are free from
reversible legal error. See Reddick v. Chater, 157
F.3d 715, 720 (9th Cir. 1998); Marcia v.
Sullivan, 900 F.2d 172, 174 (9th Cir. 1990).
Substantial evidence means “more than a mere
scintilla” and “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971); see Reddick, 157 F.3d at 720.
determining whether substantial evidence supports a decision,
the Court considers the administrative record as a whole,
weighing both the evidence that supports and the evidence
that detracts from the ALJ's conclusion. See
Reddick, 157 F.3d at 720. “The ALJ is responsible
for determining credibility, resolving conflicts in medical
testimony, and for resolving ambiguities.” Andrews
v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir.
1995); see Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750
(9th Cir. 1989). “If the evidence can
reasonably support either affirming or reversing the
[Commissioner's] conclusion, the court may not substitute
its judgment for that of the [Commissioner].”
Reddick, 157 F.3d at 720-21.
THE ALJ'S FINDINGS
order to be eligible for disability or social security
benefits, a claimant must demonstrate an “inability to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). An ALJ
determines a claimant's eligibility for benefits by
following a five-step sequential evaluation:
(1) determine whether the applicant is engaged in
“substantial gainful activity”;
(2) determine whether the applicant has a medically severe
impairment or combination of impairments;
(3) determine whether the applicant's impairment equals
one of a number of listed impairments that the Commissioner
acknowledges as so severe as to preclude the applicant from
engaging in substantial gainful activity;
(4) if the applicant's impairment does not equal one of
the listed impairments, determine whether the applicant is
capable of performing his or her past relevant work;
(5) if the applicant is not capable of performing his or her
past relevant work, determine whether the applicant is able
to perform other work in the national economy in view of ...