What to Do and How to Do It
Detailed guidance is important when navigating the hidden rules, obscure interpretations, and frequent delays common to Social Security disability cases.
Turn to Tom Bush’s Social Security Disability Practice when challenges or questions arise. This masterwork covers the waterfront of social security disability practice:
- Selecting good cases. Sections 160-62
- Determining the basis for denial, and common erroneous reasons for denial. Sections 173, 207
- Comparison of Social Security disability and SSI. Section 135
- Obtaining and dealing with medical and vocational opinion evidence. Section 220
- Impairment-specific RFC questionnaires. Section 230
- Issues commonly arising in hearings. Section 287
- Preparing claimants and witnesses to testify, including questionnaires and letters. Section 290
- Specific and detailed hearing questions for claimants, witnesses, and experts. Chapter 3
- Proving inability to do unskilled sedentary work, including cross-examination questions. Section 346.6
- Using the Medical-Vocational Guidelines as framework for decision-making, with charts, questions for the vocational expert, and court decisions. Section 348
- Res judicata and reopening applications. Section 370
- Index of key rulings. Appendix 1
- Calculating back benefits, with worksheet. Section 430
- Payment issues and solutions, with directory of contact information. Section 440
- Developing a legal theory for appeal, with checklist and sample briefs. Chapter 5
- Attorney fee issues and solutions. Chapter 7
- And much, much more.
Considered by many to be the most practical work in the field, Social Security Disability Practice is chock-full of practice-proven forms.
Developed by author Tom Bush for his own office, these forms will save you hours and improve your advocacy. Just a few of the tips found in the helpful charts, appendices and forms include:
- Use “Maximum RFC Permitted for Disability Finding” to quickly determine what exertional limitations a claimant must have in order to win a disability case. Section 121.1
- “Social Security Disability and SSI Compared” summarizes differences between the two programs. Section 135
- “Physical Limitations and Their Effects on Ranges of Work” will help you understand specific medical restrictions. Section 271.1
- Author Tom Bush keeps a copy of “Different Standards of Transferability for Different Ages” in his briefcase for questioning vocational experts at hearings. Section 349.6
- Begin your research on disability issues with “Guide to Important Social Security Rulings and Acquiescence Rulings.” Appendix 1
- Prepare for cross-examination with “Medical Expert Handbook,” “Vocational Expert Self-study Guide” and “Vocational Expert Handbook” excerpts from manuals given by SSA to medical and vocational experts. Appendices 4, 7, and 8
- Vocational experts frequently testify with questionable validity that they know from “experience” of unlisted jobs that qualify as Unskilled Sedentary Occupations. Use this Dictionary of Occupation Titles list together with Tom Bush’s recommended cross-examination questions to shoot them down. Appendix 5
- “The Advocates’ Conflicting Obligations Vis-a-vis Adverse Medical Evidence in Social Security Proceedings” tackles the ethical issue that haunts all practitioners—must you submit an adverse medical report? Appendix 9
- “Sources of Information” provides summaries, critiques, and ordering information for dozens of other helpful resources. Appendix 2
- The telephone intake form helps screen out frivolous cases, and the claimant questionnaire, while lengthy, is a real attorney timesaver. Accompanying client letters and memos reduce the number of common client questions you have to answer. Sections 164-67, 181
- Overcome low back pain denials with maximum detail and explanations from the treating physician using the “Lumbar Spine RFC Questionnaire.” Section 231.2
- “Activities Questionnaire,” sent a few days before the hearing, can help claimants think about how their impairments have changed their lives. Section 291
- With these model questions, show that the vocational expert’s testimony about the number of unskilled sedentary jobs within the claimant’s RFC is hogwash. Section 348.8
- Detailed hearing questions for the claimant on work experience, medical history and treatment, physical and mental symptoms, RFC, and daily activities. Sections 312-19
Minimize the frustrations in dealing with the SSA, the author, a veteran disability representative, clarifies issues such as: developing the theory of the case, establishing and proving pain, dealing with vocational and medical experts and using the fee agreement process. Useful forms, questionnaires, and checklists help you streamline cases. The two volume book now includes access to more than 120 digital forms and the full text of the book via an emailed zip file.
REVISION 26 HIGHLIGHTS
Now in its 26th revision, Social Security Disability Practice is still considered by many Social Security disability practitioners the best and most practical work available for start-to-finish guidance for Social Security disability cases. Author Tom E. Bush has updated the title throughout and has made substantial changes to the following sections:
Author Tom Bush has updated the title throughout and has made substantial changes to the following sections:
Chapter 1 Initial Client Contact
- §151 Initial and Reconsideration Determination. Discussion on the SSA’s experiment in prototype states to eliminate the reconsideration step.
- §178.2 SSA Forms. Detailed discussion on necessary SSA forms, including forms concerning appointment of representatives, multiple representatives, claimant authorization forms to release information to designated associates, direct payment of fees, waiver of direct payment, and revocation of appointment of a representative.
- §178.4 Direct Payment of Attorney Fees. Discussion on the elimination of form SSA-1695 and its incorporation into revised and expanded Appointment of Representative form, SSA-1696.
- §178.5 Appointed Representative Services—Online Access to Clients’ Electronic Files. Updated discussion on downloading electronic files via Appointed Representative Services.
- §178.2.6 Form: Claimant’s Revocation of the Appointment of a Representative (SSA-1696-SUP1)
- §178.2.7 Form: Representative’s Withdrawal of Acceptance of an Appointment (SSA-1696-SUP2)
- §178.8 SSA’s Appointed Representative Best Practices and Tips. Updated discussion on best practices for interacting with the appointed representative community..
Chapter 2 Prehearing Procedure
- §201.6 Decrypting a CD-ROM Containing an Electronic Disability File. Updated discussion on decrypting
E- file CDs.
- §221.13 Memorandum: Preparing a Medical Opinion for use in a Social Security Disability Case—For Claims Filed On or After March 27, 2017. Detailed discussion on preparing medical opinions for use in Social Security disability cases, including what issues a treatment provider should address, how the SSA makes decisions on a patient’s capacity for working, functional capacity evaluations, objective medical findings, and functional capacity forms.
- §238 Endocrine Disorders, Listing §9.00 and Obesity. Updated discussion on the SSA’s approach to evaluating disability based on obesity.
- §239 Neurological Disorders, Listings §§11.00-11.22. Updated discussion on the SSA’s approach to evaluating headaches as a neurological impairment.
- §275 Scheduling and Rescheduling the Hearing. Detailed discussion on steps required to schedule and reschedule hearings.
Chapter 3 The Hearing
- §304.2 Video Hearings. Updated discussion on video hearings.
- §304.3 Telephone Testimony by Expert Witnesses. Updated discussion on telephone testimony byvocational and medical experts.
- §340 The Government’s Vocational Expert. Updated discussion on the importance of cross-examinationand challenging the vocational expert’s opinions.
Chapter 4: Following a Favorable Decision
- §478 Changing the Overpayment Recovery Rate. Discussion on requesting the SSA to change theoverpayment rate of recovery.
Chapter 5 Appeals Council
- §501 The Final Step of Administrative Review. Detailed background on the Appeals Council.
- §504 Develop a Legal Theory for the Appeal. Discussion on what questions to ask for claims on orafter March 27, 2017 in evaluating the weight given to medical opinions from treating sources and prioradministrative findings.
CHAPTER 6: FEDERAL COURT REVIEW
- §604 Analyzing the Case. Updated discussion on common errors found in ALJ decisions.
CHAPTER 7: ATTORNEY’S FEES
- §747 Coping with SSA’s Failure to Withhold Attorney Fees. Discussion on collecting attorney fees through SSA if SSA fails to withhold fees and sends payment directly to the client.
PRAISE FOR MR. BUSH’S BOOK
“If you can only afford one Social Security guide, this is the one to get.”
– Severe Book Review
“It contains everything one needs to learn ‘what to do’ and ‘how to do it’ in Social Security law. Both novices and experienced professionals will benefit from this book.”
– The Rehabilitation Professional Review
“This book is an excellent practice guide, providing the kind of information experienced Social Security advocates rely on to make their practices more efficient and effective.”
– The Vermont Bar Review