United States District Court, D. Arizona
MICHELLE H. BUMS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff Nicholas Rose's appeal from
the Social Security Administration's final decision to
deny his claim for disability insurance benefits. After
reviewing the administrative record and the arguments of the
parties, the Court now issues the following ruling.
November 6, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for
disability insurance benefits alleging disability beginning
August 1, 2013. (Transcript of Administrative Record
(“Tr.”) at 11, 134-35.) His application was
denied initially and on reconsideration. (Tr. at 11, 58-77.)
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
administrative law judge. (Tr. at 11, 91-92.) A hearing was
held on July 8, 2015, (Tr. at 11, 24-57), and the ALJ issued
a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. at
8-23). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review (Tr. at 1-7), making the ALJ's decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff then sought judicial
review of the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
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 his
age, education, and work experience.
See Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140-42 (1987)
(citing 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920). At the
fifth stage, the burden of proof shifts to the Commissioner
to show that the claimant can perform other substantial
gainful work. See ...