A Day in the Life of NDL Advocacy

November 11, 2016

Anyone who wades into the Social Security Disability waters—whether they are seeking benefits or if they are an advocate for the disabled—quickly learns there are two essential truths about Social Security Disability law.  First, the process is frustrating, and second, the rules, regulations, and procedures are constantly changing. For these reasons, the attorneys and staff at Nash Disability Law are always learning about the best practices and latest trends in disability law and networking with the best and brightest legal experts in the country.

Earlier this month, Nash attorney Brianne Stricoff attended a NOSSCR conference in Seattle. NOSSCR, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, is an association for attorneys and advocates who represent claimants for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI). NOSSCR has been a pioneer in continuing legal education and public policy advocacy since 1979. The conference was an intense four days of education and networking.

Among many new insights, Brianne brought back two important ideas to share with our legal team which are directly relevant to representing our clients at their Social Security hearings in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ):

  • If a person seeking disability benefits notices a difference in their ability to focus and concentrate, they should talk to their doctors about it. For example, if a client has trouble watching a two-hour movie or reading a chapter in a book, they should report that so the doctor can make it part of the record. When this type of evidence is properly documented, a doctor’s opinion about a patient’s “RFC” may carry more weight with a judge.  An RFC, or residual functional capacity, is the most a person can do despite his or her limitations.
  • There are situations in which a disabled person’s symptoms might be more severe at work than they are at home. If a doctor provides an opinion about a patient’s RFC, but noted symptoms are not present in the accompanying treatment records, then it is important to request that the doctor clarify whether his or her opinion reflects how the symptoms affect the patient at home, or in a potential workplace, and why there might be differences between the two settings. If the doctor’s letter confirms that symptoms would be worse while working (and why), then an ALJ may better understand why the claimant for disability may not be able to sustain full-time competitive work.

For Nash Disability Law lawyers and staff, every day is devoted to vigorously fighting for your rights. Whether you have a rheumatoid arthritis disability claim and are from Plainfield or a complex regional pain syndrome disability case and are from Chicago or Bensenville, it is our privilege to evaluate how we can help you.  We apply our constantly evolving knowledge and expertise to give you the best opportunity to win the benefit you have earned—that is the Nash Disability Law promise and our commitment to you.