REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAREN L. STROMBOM, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff has brought this matter for judicial review of defendant's denial of his applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits. This matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule MJR 4(a)(4) and as authorized by Mathews, Secretary of H.E.W. v. Weber , 423 U.S. 261 (1976). After reviewing the parties' briefs and the remaining record, the undersigned submits the following Report and Recommendation for the Court's review, recommending that for the reasons set forth below, defendant's decision to deny benefits should be affirmed.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On May 26, 2009, plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits and on May 27, 2009, he filed another one for SSI benefits, alleging in both applications that he became disabled beginning December 8, 2006, due to diabetes, depression and multiple back injuries. See ECF #13, Administrative Record ("AR") 22, 194. Both applications were denied upon initial administrative review on August 20, 2009, and on reconsideration on November 12, 2009. See AR 22. A hearing was held before an administrative law judge ("ALJ") on September 9, 2011, at which plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified, as did a vocational expert. See AR 41-69.
In a decision dated September 23, 2011, the ALJ determined plaintiff to be not disabled. See AR 22-33. Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision was denied by the Appeals Council on October 1, 2012, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner"). See AR 1; see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.981, § 416.1481. On December 6, 2012, plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision. See ECF #3. The administrative record was filed with the Court on February 15, 2013. See ECF #13. The parties have completed their briefing, and thus this matter is now ripe for the Court's review.
Plaintiff argues the Commissioner's final decision should be reversed and remanded for an award of benefits, or in the alternative for further administrative proceedings, because the ALJ erred: (1) in giving insufficient reasons for rejecting the opinion of examining psychologist, Tasmyn Bowes, Psy.D.; (2) in giving insufficient reasons for discounting plaintiff's credibility; (3) in relying on an incomplete residual functional capacity ("RFC") assessment; (4) in relying on an incomplete hypothetical question posed to the vocational expert; and (5) in finding plaintiff to be capable of performing jobs that were beyond his mental RFC. For the reasons set forth below, however, the undersigned disagrees that the ALJ erred in determining plaintiff to be not disabled, and therefore recommends that defendant's decision to deny benefits be affirmed.
The determination of the Commissioner that a claimant is not disabled must be upheld by the Court, if the "proper legal standards" have been applied by the Commissioner, and the "substantial evidence in the record as a whole supports" that determination. Hoffman v. Heckler , 785 F.2d 1423, 1425 (9th Cir. 1986); see also Batson v. Commissioner of Social Security Admin. , 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004); Carr v. Sullivan , 772 F.Supp. 522, 525 (E.D. Wash. 1991) ("A decision supported by substantial evidence will, nevertheless, be set aside if the proper legal standards were not applied in weighing the evidence and making the decision.") (citing Brawner v. Secretary of Health and Human Services , 839 F.2d 432, 433 (9th Cir. 1987)).
Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales , 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation omitted); see also Batson , 359 F.3d at 1193 ("[T]he Commissioner's findings are upheld if supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the record."). "The substantial evidence test requires that the reviewing court determine" whether the Commissioner's decision is "supported by more than a scintilla of evidence, although less than a preponderance of the evidence is required." Sorenson v. Weinberger , 514 F.2d 1112, 1119 n.10 (9th Cir. 1975). "If the evidence admits of more than one rational interpretation, " the Commissioner's decision must be upheld. Allen v. Heckler , 749 F.2d 577, 579 (9th Cir. 1984) ("Where there is conflicting evidence sufficient to support either outcome, we must affirm the decision actually made.") (quoting Rhinehart v. Finch , 438 F.2d 920, 921 (9th Cir. 1971)).
I. The ALJ's Rejection of the Opinion of Dr. Bowes
The ALJ is responsible for determining credibility and resolving ambiguities and conflicts in the medical evidence. See Reddick v. Chater , 157 F.3d 715, 722 (9th Cir. 1998). Where the medical evidence in the record is not conclusive, "questions of credibility and resolution of conflicts" are solely the functions of the ALJ. Sample v. Schweiker , 694 F.2d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 1982). In such cases, "the ALJ's conclusion must be upheld." Morgan v. Commissioner of the Social Sec. Admin. , 169 F.3d 595, 601 (9th Cir. 1999). Determining whether inconsistencies in the medical evidence "are material (or are in fact inconsistencies at all) and whether certain factors are relevant to discount" the opinions of medical experts "falls within this responsibility." Id. at 603.
In resolving questions of credibility and conflicts in the evidence, an ALJ's findings "must be supported by specific, cogent reasons." Reddick , 157 F.3d at 725. The ALJ can do this "by setting out a detailed and thorough summary of the facts and conflicting clinical evidence, stating his interpretation thereof, and making findings." Id. The ALJ also may draw inferences "logically flowing from the evidence." Sample , 694 F.2d at 642. Further, the Court itself may draw "specific and legitimate inferences from the ALJ's opinion." Magallanes v. Bowen , 881 F.2d 747, 755, (9th Cir. 1989).
The ALJ must provide "clear and convincing" reasons for rejecting the uncontradicted opinion of either a treating or examining physician. Lester v. Chater , 81 F.3d 821, 830 (9th Cir. 1996). Even when a treating or examining physician's opinion is contradicted, that opinion "can only be rejected for specific and legitimate reasons that are supported by substantial evidence in the record." Id. at 830-31. However, the ALJ "need not discuss all evidence presented" to him or her. Vincent on Behalf of Vincent v. Heckler , 739 F.3d 1393, 1394-95 (9th Cir. 1984) (citation omitted) (emphasis in original). The ALJ must only explain why "significant probative evidence has been rejected." Id .; see also Cotter v. Harris , 642 F.2d 700, 706-07 (3rd Cir. 1981); Garfield v. Schweiker , 732 F.2d 605, 610 (7th Cir. 1984).
In general, more weight is given to a treating physician's opinion than to the opinions of those who do not treat the claimant. See Lester , 81 F.3d at 830. On the other hand, an ALJ need not accept the opinion of a treating physician, "if that opinion is brief, conclusory, and inadequately supported by clinical findings" or "by the record as a whole." Thomas v. Barnhart , 278 F.3d 947, 957 (9th Cir. 2002); Batson v. Commissioner of Social Sec. Admin. , 359 F.3d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Tonapetyan v. Halter , 242 F.3d 1144, 1149 (9th Cir. 2001); Matney on Behalf of Matney v. Sullivan , 981 F.2d 1016, 1019 (9th Cir. 1992). An examining physician's opinion is "entitled to greater weight than the opinion of a nonexamining physician." Lester , 81 F.3d at 830-31. A non-examining physician's opinion may constitute substantial evidence if "it is consistent with other independent evidence in the record." Id. at 830-31; Tonapetyan , 242 F.3d at 1149.
In regard to the medical opinion evidence in the record, the ALJ found in relevant part as follows:
Tasmyn Bowes, PsyD conducted a psychological evaluation in June 2010. The claimant reported having many subjective symptoms of depression but that he has never had any therapy. (Ex. 12F/1). She diagnosed major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe without psychotic symptoms, cocaine dependence in sustained full remission by report, and a [global assessment of functioning ("GAF") score] of 33 based on the claimant's report that he was preoccupied with ending his life. (Ex. 12F/6). This GAF score is given little weight because it is not consistent with the claimant's reports that he has no history of suicide attempts, except for three times when he got large amounts of cocaine with the intent of killing himself, and he had no immediate plan or intent. (Ex. 12F/1). Further, she noted the cognitive factors and social factors were only mild to moderate in severity, except she found he had difficulty persisting. (Ex. 12F/5). However, this is inconsistent with [examining psychologist] Dr. [Kathleen S.] Mayers' [August 4, 2009] opinion and appears to be ...