I am excited to have been asked to teach at a NBI Social Security Disability Seminar “Social Security Claims from A to Z” A Practical Walkthrough of the Claim Process, in Indianapolis on December 16, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station, 123 West Louisiana Street, Indianapolis, IN. (The seminar offers 6 hours of CLE for Indiana attorneys.) My topics include “Evidentiary Issues in Disability Claims” and “Writing the Brief and Preparing for the Hearing.”
The rules for the presentation of evidence before the Office of Hearings Operations have become more complex and more voluminous. The source of the rules include statutes, federal regulations, Social Security Rulings, and the Hearings, Appeals, and Litigation Manual (HALLEX). Recently, the Commissioner for Social Security has promulgated changes in the rules dealing with the time limits within which evidence can be submitted. This rule change is called the “5-day rule.” The “5-day rule” requires the claimant to submit relevant evidence within 5 business days before the scheduled hearing. Alternatively, the claimant must notify the Commissioner in writing within 5 business days about the existence of the Commissioner of any relevant evidence and specifically identify the evidence in the notice. There is a new rule called the “all evidence rule.” The “all evidence rule” obligates the claimant to submit all evidence of his/her medical condition which is relevant to the claim for disability. The “all evidence rule” includes not only evidence favorable to the claimant but also evidence unfavorable to the claimant. The Commissioner has also created a requirement that the claimant disclose to the Commissioner any involvement the claimant and the representative may have had in the creation of a medical source statement. This seminar will discuss, in depth, these rule changes. Suggested forms for compliance to these rules will also be provided.
Under the “Best Practice” rules for Social Security representatives, representatives are encouraged to prepare and submit pre-hearing briefs. This seminar is designed to alert the Social Security practitioners about the rules, both new and old. The seminar will also offer practical suggestions concerning how to organize and write a pre-hearing brief. A pre-hearing brief can be very helpful in directing the administrative law judge to the legal theories of the case. The pre-hearing brief can be a way to identify the relevant evidence supporting the claim for disability. Even though there is no page limit to a pre-hearing brief in Social Security cases, there are practical considers which enter into the strategy of writing a brief. This seminar will discuss the art form of creating and drafting a pre-hearing brief. Sample pre-hearing briefs will be offered as models from which to create case specific briefs.
In addition to evidentiary rules review and suggestions about preparing pre-hearing briefs, there will be presentations about the listing of impairments and the GRID rules. The best hearing tactics will be explored. Because at most of Social Security hearings the administrative law judge calls a vocational expert, this seminar will explore some of the best ways to cross-examine vocational experts. Finally, there will be presentation of how to avoid “ethical pitfalls.
The persons who will most benefit from them seminar are claimants’ representatives (both non-attorneys and attorneys).