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Gordon Gates specializes in Social Security disability law, and he handles claims at every level of the Social Security disability claim process. He assists clients with initial applications for disability benefits, with appeals of denied claims, and with hearings by an administrative law judge.

Gordon has successfully appealed unfavorable administrative law judge decisions the Social Security Appeals Council and to U.S. District Court (District of Maine) to have those claims remanded for new hearings.

Gordon attended Maine Maritime Academy and Tulane University Law School. At Tulane, he served as Senior Articles Editor of the Tulane Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. He was admitted to practice law in Maine in 1991. Since 2005, he has concentrated his law practice on Social Security disability and SSI cases.

Gordon is the publisher of Social Security Disability Lawyer, a nationally-read legal blog. He presented at the Fall 2010 conference of National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) on the topic of Writing Hearing Briefs for the ALJ.

In January, Social Security added claims at Initial and Reconsideration to its status report in Electronic Records Express (ERE). After 4 months using this additional feature, I have found it to be hugely helpful. It is a terrific improvement for those of us managing Social Security disability claims.

I check the list of cases almost

I recently had a disability case with a judge from the Albany hearing office. That judge sends out a letter 30 days before a scheduled hearing setting his expectations for evidence at the hearing. I really liked the letter. It is not standard practice for most judges to send a prehearing letter like this, at

There is an interesting wrinkle on the issue of missed days at work in the Second Circuit case of Sczepanski v. Saul, 946 F. 3d 152 (2nd Cir. 2020). That case probably merits wider attention.

During the ALJ hearing in that case, the vocational witness was asked about tolerated levels of missed days, specifically

Often at a Social Security disability hearing, there is testimony from the claimant and the vocational witness about missed days at work.

Many disability claims at the hearing level are decided on the basis of missed work days. This is because a claimant’s symptoms and limitations often do not fit neatly into Social Security’s physical

Social Security relies primarily on medical evidence to evaluate disability claims. However, they also look at nonmedical evidence, including the forms that claimants complete during the disability evaluation process. See 20 CFR 404.1513(a)(4).

Nonmedical evidence can also include a statement from parent, spouse, other family member, or a friend. That statement is typically 1