Training Course Syllabus:
Understand the Procedures and Strategies for Effective Disability Claimant Representation
Get everything you'll need to succeed in a disability claim with an insightful overview of the laws, definitions, procedures, and tactics involved in researching and proving impairments. Experienced attorney faculty will walk you through the major steps of the claim procedure and share their methods for selecting cases, presenting them with the SSA and coordinating SSDI with claimants' other sources of income. Build a solid foundation for your practice – register today!
- Get the foundational knowledge you'll need to effectively pursue Social Security Disability claims.
- Verify all actions taken in the claim before it came to you to eliminate devastating surprises later.
- Understand how disability is defined and measured in SSDI and workers' compensation claims.
- Find out what sources of proof work best in specific physical impairment claims.
- Can someone fake a personality assessment test – for the good or for the bad? Find out what safeguards are built in and how you can best use the assessment results.
- Know how to ethically address misconduct by clients and representatives.
- Hear seasoned attorneys share their tips for establishing and collecting attorneys' fees.
- Recognize when the claim is worth taking to Federal District Court and what arguments carry the most weight there.
OVERVIEW OF THE LAW, OPERATING TERMS AND PROCEDURE
8:30 - 9:30, Dave Pantos
- Key Term Definitions and Abbreviations
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) vs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Eligibility Rules: Medical vs. Nonmedical Requirements
- How Disability is Measured – The Grids and Residual Functional Capacity
- Governing Law (POMS, HALLEX, SSRs, ARs, Case Law, CFR and SS Act)
- SSDI Claim Procedural Steps
FIRST STEPS AND THE SEARCH FOR CLAIM-SUPPORTING EVIDENCE
9:30 - 10:30, Mary L. Wilson
- Client Intake and Claim Evaluation – Conflicting Information in the File and Other Red Flags
- The Five Steps of the Sequential Evaluation
- Reopening a Prior Application – How Far Back Can You Go?
- SSA/ODAR Communications (Including specific forms to complete and SSA response to case backlog)
- Difference in Evaluating Physical vs. Mental Claims
- Obtaining Case Supporting Documentation
- Determining the Onset of Disability (Including Date Last Insured)
- Proving Pain
- Medical History and Treating Doctors' Opinions
- Employment History
- Functional Exertional and Non-Exertional Limitations
- Daily Activity Diaries
- Special Considerations in Child Disability Claims
MENTAL IMPAIRMENT CLAIMS
10:45 - 11:45, Mary L. Wilson
- Should You Survey Listing 12.00 or Focus on One Particular Listing?
- Personality Disorders – Are They Real, How Can You Prove Your Case?
- Can Your Client Meet Listing 12.08?
- Faking or Response Distortion in Personality Assessment
- Affective Disorders (Listing 12.04)
- Intelligence Quotient (IQ) – Can You Prove the Client's Listing IQ?
- Social Security Listing of Impairment: 12.05
- What Limitations Does a Low IQ Cause?
- Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF)
- Changes in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM-5)
EFFECTIVE HEARING TACTICS
12:45 - 1:45, Patrick B. Cavanaugh
- Pre-Hearing Briefs and Other Submissions
- Amended Onset Dates and Wages Recorded after Onset Date
- Effective Exhibits
- Direct Examination of the Claimant
- Cross-Examining Medical and Vocational Experts
STRATEGIES FOR THE APPEALS COUNCIL AND FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT
1:45 - 2:30, Dave Pantos
- Effective Arguments
- Brief Writing Tactics
- Timing Considerations
AVOIDING ETHICAL PITFALLS
2:45 - 3:45, Patrick B. Cavanaugh
- Representative Misconduct
- Client Misconduct
- Judicial Misconduct
- Guarding Confidentiality
- Addressing Negative Evidence
ATTORNEYS' FEES – SOURCES AND METHODS OF RECOVERY
3:45 - 4:40, Patrick B. Cavanaugh
- From Federal Government
- From the Back Due Benefits
- Fee Petition
- Fee Agreement – When Can You Get More than the Fee Cap?
- In a Partially Favorable Ruling Case
- Pursuing Unpaid Fees
- Fees in Federal Court
- Seeking Fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA)