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A hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) to determine medical eligibility for Social Security disability benefits usually follows a pattern: opening remarks by the judge and then the claimant’s lawyer, the claimant’s testimony, and then testimony of a vocational witness regarding the claimant’s past relevant work, and whether or not various functional limitations would

At the recent NOSSCR Conference, I attended an excellent presentation by Ohio disability attorney Scott F. Smith on winning cases for Social Security disability. One of the topics covered was a pre-hearing brief for the administrative law judge. Mr. Smith listed several goals accomplished by writing a brief:

Drafting a brief is an endeavor that

At the close of a hearing, sometimes post-hearing argument is needed. Social Security’s rules allow for oral and/or written post-hearing argument, upon request. See HALLEX section I-2-6-76.

I prefer to submit a post-hearing brief, rather than make a statement at the close of the hearing. I think a brief has far more impact.

I had a hearing for a client who has been unable to work due to the symptoms of long-haul COVID, sometimes also referred to a postviral fatigue syndrome (PVFS).

My main challenge as a Representative has been to make sure Social Security recognizes that long-haul COVID cases are not like other cases. An appropriate RFC

I’m not the person I used to be.

Social Security disability applicants often tell me this when I meet with them to discuss their claims. At the hearing, I will ask them to explain to the judge why they are a different person today than when they were able to work. It is usually compelling

When I prepare a client for a hearing, I always urge the client to provide specific examples of functional limitations…. better than blanket statements.

I have learned over the years that the more time I spend with the client, the better I am able to tease out these stories. I have long felt that they