Attmore v. Colvin, No. 13-36048 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff was awarded social security disability benefits due to her bipolar disorder. Plaintiff was disabled as of April 15, 2007, but had medically improved to the point she was no longer disabled beginning on March 24, 2009. The court concluded that in closed period cases an ALJ should compare the medical evidence used to determine that the claimant was disabled with the medical evidence existing at the time of asserted medical improvement. Although the ALJ in this case made the appropriate comparison, the court concluded that substantial evidence does not support the ALJ’s finding of medical improvement. The ALJ erroneously focused on only temporary periods and isolated aspects of plaintiff's improvement that were not representative of the continuing severity of her symptoms. In this case, plaintiff's improvement was not sustained and was considerably limited in scope. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions.