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 25 HIGHLIGHTS
Now in its 25th 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 Bush has updated the title throughout and has made substantial changes to the following sections:
Chapter 1 Initial Client Contact
- §114 Step 2: The Severity Step. Updated guidance on determining if a claimant’s medically determinable impairment is “severe.”
- §122 Age. Expanded explanation on how SSA decides which age category to use in a borderline age situation.
- §177.9 Form: Memorandum and Worksheet: Your Capacity for Working. Handout to help clients understand how SSA evaluates their capacity for working.
Chapter 2 Prehearing Procedure
- §211.2 VA Disability Rating Decisions and Rating Exam Reports. SSA has changed how it treats VA disability rating decisions.
- §220 Obtaining and Dealing with Opinion Evidence. Significant changes by SSA.
- §220.2 Medical Opinions – Claims Filed on or after March 27, 2017. New definition of medical opinion.
- §221 Obtaining Medical Opinions. Includes discussion of implications of new Rules of Conduct effective August 1, 2018. You may have to report to SSA your involvement in obtaining a medical opinion!
- §222 Prior Administrative Medical Findings – State Agency Doctor Opinions. Guidance on dealing with SSA’s new approach for dealing with medical opinions for claims filed on or after March 17, 2017, which are only now arriving at the hearing level.
- §285 Submit All Additional Evidence At Least Five Business Days Before the Hearing. Practice-oriented guidance on submitting evidence.
Chapter 3 The Hearing
- §300.1 Chart: Administrative Law Judge Approvals 2010 to 2017. A new graph showing the declining rate of ALJs finding claimants disabled.
- §330 The Government’s Medical Expert. Updated guidance on handling the testimony of medical experts at client hearings.
- §340 The Government’s Vocational Expert. Guidance on dealing with testimony of vocational experts.
Chapter 5 Appeals Council
- §501.1 Chart: Appeals Council Remand Rate 2010 to 2017: New graph shows declining remand rate.
- §510 Requesting Review by the Appeals Council. Detailed guidance on requesting review of decisions by the Appeals Council. Review can now be requested online.
- §523 to §524 Standards for Appeals Council Review. Detailed guidance on the grounds for review by the Appeals Council, including a discussion of dealing with limitations on the use of new evidence in your client’s appeal.
Chapter 7: Attorney’s Fees
- §700 Approval of Attorney Fees in Disability Cases. A valuable overview of the four attorney fee approval processes – two administrative systems: the fee agreement process and the fee petition process; and two federal court fee approval systems: 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) for a fee out of your client’s back benefits and the Equal Access to Justice Act.
- §705 Exceptions to the Fee Agreement Process. SSA has simplified its list of exceptions to the fee agreement process.
- §709 Law Firms, Paralegals and Multiple Representatives. Multiple representatives must all sign the same fee agreement, whether they are members of the same firm or not. If a co-representative waives a fee, SSA no longer imposes fee reduction on the remaining representatives.
- Appendix 8. Vocational Expert Handbook. New.
- Appendix 9. Medical Expert Handbook. New.
With this new edition, Tom Bush’s Social Security Disability Practice will continue to help you obtain persuasive medical source statements, guide your claimants to provide effective hearing testimony, make your office more efficient, and answer the questions arising in your daily work.
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