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.
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The patient is doing well.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I read that sentence in a progress note for a patient who is applying for disability benefits.

This statement (and similar language) in a patient’s medical records can cause problems in a disability claim, because it is routinely misinterpreted by those

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 the SSA reviews your initial disability claim, it obtains your medical records, and determines your residual functional capacity after analyzing those records. The problem with this approach is that the SSA does not obtain your doctor's opinion about your limitations. Rather, the SSA reviews your medical records and makes its own determination.

However, a

There is an interesting Practice Tip provided by Illiniois attorney Eric Schnaufer in the September 2013 Social Security Forum, a newsletter for NOSSCR members. Attorney Schnaufer suggests submitting a treating source's curriculum vitae (CV) to the disability claim file. 

I think this is a great idea in certain cases. Some clients have treating specialists with

In a Social Security disability claim, you want to be specific when describing your symptoms and resultant functional limitations. Remember these three words when developing evidence about symptoms: frequency, severity and duration.

Whether you are talking about physical pain/fatigue, or mental health symptoms, these are the 3 things you must describe with medical evidence

In the New England states, we are fortunate to receive 75-day notice of disability hearings. This is a carry-over of the DSI process which was implemented in SSA Region I. We also must submit evidence 5 business days ahead of the hearing. See 20 C.F.R. 405.331. In the rest of the country, you only receive 20 days notice of administrative law judge hearing, but you can bring new evidence to the hearing, and it must be considered by the ALJ.

Ideally, all your evidence is submitted well ahead of the hearing. This is one of the best practices of Social Security claimants' representatives. Nevertheless, sometimes there is an important piece of evidence, usually a medical record or a treating doctor's opinion, that could not be obtained earlier.

The regulation specifies 5 business days. Weekends and holidays are not counted. And when counting the 5 days, our judges at the Portland, Maine ODAR do not count the day of the hearing. As a result, the 5-day rule is really an 8-day rule. For a hearing that is held on a Thursday, your evidence must be received by Wednesday of the previous week. This is a trap for the unwary. 

Continue Reading In New England, the 5-day rule is really an 8-day rule