Welcome! This site is written for Social Security disability claimants, for their legal representatives, and for the network of people involved in the Social Security disability claim process. I hope you find it helpful.
Free Claim Review

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.

When Social Security Security evaluates a claim for disability, it uses a 5-step sequential evaluation. For steps 4 & 5 of the sequential evaluation, Social Security assesses your functional limitations and incorporates those limitations into a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). That RFC is then compared to the requirments of competitive work to determine whether

I had a hearing recently with a terrific Social Security administrative law judge. The experience got me thinking about the characteristics you want in a judge. Here are a few:

Good listener – the purpose of a Social Security disability hearing is to take testimony from the claimant. You want a judge who is actively

Each Spring, the SSA releases statistics from the previous fiscal year in an easy to understand format, the "waterfall" chart. The chart shows the percentage of claims approved and denied at the various levels of review. Here is the latest chart, for FY 2013:

The chart shows that allowed claims are down at every level

Many clients make first contact with me after receiving a denial letter for an initial application for Social Security disability benefits. It is crucial to appeal the denial of your benefits right away.

After an appeal, the next step in most states (including Maine) is Reconsideration (in New Hampshire, however, disability claims go directly from an

As promised, the SSA has updated its online services for representatives to include the name of the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to claims at the hearing level.

Just log in to your online services account, go to Electronic Records Express (ERE) Home, and select "Get Hearing office Status Report." Both the "quick view" version


The "secret ALJ" policy implemented in late 2011 has come to an end. For the past year and a half or so, the particular administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to your disability case was not disclosed prior to the day of the hearing. It was a terrible policy, and now the policy has changed.

Ask

I see on the record decisions for Social Security disability claims in two different circumstances.

An "on the record" (OTR) decision refers to Social Security disability and SSI claims pending at the hearing level at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) that are granted on the record prior to a hearing. An on the record decision can

The onset date is the beginning of your Social Security disability claim. It is the date when your impairments prevented you from working at the level of substantial gainful activity.

In our current climate for Social Security disability claims, onset dates have been under pressure from both DDS and from administrative law judges. Even very