At the Portland, Maine Social Security hearing office, attorneys are asked to submit a "statement of the case," or hearing memorandum, several days prior to the hearing. This request comes from the Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge, in a letter that is mailed when the claim is ready to schedule for a hearing.
Social Security's regulations do not require a hearing memorandum. However, the request of the Chief Judge is effectively a command, so the requirement for a hearing memorandum is akin to a local rule.
According to the Chief Judge's letter, a statement of the case should include:
- A statement of the issues before the Administrative Law Judge, and, if the issue is disability, the period of alleged disability, with any amended onset or duration;
- A short rationale for each "step" in the sequential evaluation process, always using our exhibit number to refer to supporting evidence;
- Acknowledgement and discussion of any strongly conflicting evidence, and
- Acknowledgement that you have diligently provided all reasonably available medical updates known to you, and explaining any missing updates that are material to your case.
That's just the basics. Your memorandum should cover much more. I will discuss the nuts and bolts of writing a hearing memorandum in an upcoming post.
The experience of hundreds of hearing briefs is quite clear. They are very effective. If you take the time to write them, you will win more claims at hearing.