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 27 HIGHLIGHTS
Now in its 27th 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:
Chapter 1 Initial Client Contact
- §120 Medical-Vocational Guidelines.
- §130 Social Security Disability And SSI: Nondisability Requirements And Other Differences.
- 178.2 SSA Forms
- §178.3 Attorney Fees Contract
- §178.8 SSA’s Tips and Best Practices for Appointed Representatives April 2022
- §180 After Initial Interview—Hearing Stage
- New Form: §176.11.4: Statement of Funds You Received (SSA-2855)
Chapter 2 Prehearing Procedure
- New Form: §239.4.1 Form: Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue Medical Opinion.
- §231 Musculoskeletal System, Listings §§1.15-1.23
- §231.1 Form: Lumbar & Cervical Spine Medical Opinion
- §279 SSA’s November 2020 Best Practices For Claimants’ Representatives
- §285 Submit All Additional Evidence At Least Five Business Days Before the Hearing
Chapter 3 The Hearing
- §304.2 Video Hearings
- §344 Improper VE Testimony
Chapter 4: Following a Favorable Decision
- §486 Is There Medical Improvement?
Chapter 5 Appeals Council
- §501 The Final Step of Administrative Review
- §527.4 Sample Brief: Missing Work.
CHAPTER 6: FEDERAL COURT REVIEW
- §601 Is There a Final Decision of the Commissioner?
- §610 Initiating The Civil Action: Procedure
- §614 Service
- §622 The Action is Presented for Decision by the Parties’ Briefs
- §623 Time Limits for Briefing
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
I have represented thousands of clients in Social Security Disability cases. I have used this book as my first resource whenever I have a question. I rarely have to look further, as Mr. Bush has anticipated virtually any question I have. I have strongly advised many younger lawyers and nonlawyer advocates to not only buy, but update this book. There is a bonus, too. It comes with Word disks with downloadable forms which are easily transformed into personalized RFC forms which draw raves from physicians and ALJ’s. Anyone who represents any SS claimants needs this book.
Joe Consumer –
Thomas E. Bush, Social Security Practice (2d ed.) (SSDP), published December 2013, is shipping. It is an essential resource — maybe even “the” essential resource — for every claimants’ representative. The 2013 edition replaces entirely the prior edition. The 2013 edition is not a supplement.
1. SSDP comes with a CD-ROM with documents that can be copied to a local hard drive. Every representative should have SSDP indexed on a local hard drive.
2. Every representative should use the latest version of SSDP. Law changes. Mr. Bush adds more guidance in each edition.
3. SSDP is the best value in secondary Social Security resources.
4. For some issues, basic research starts with SSDP. For other issues, research should/must be checked against SSDP.
5. Step away from the keyboard. Review what SSDP suggests before, e.g., drafting a medical source statement.
6. For some issues, a representative tries to stand on SSDP’s shoulders. For other issues, a representative simply follows what SSDP suggests. If a representative disagrees with SSDP, it should be for a good reason.
7. SSDP includes some of what is not written down in agency guidance. Reading agency guidance may not provide the answer. SSDP might and often does.
8. SSDP is the main guidance for all administrative fee issues.
Allison Donenberg –
As a young attorney, Social Security Disability Practice has helped me navigate my way through the complex laws of Social Security Disability. The book comes with an e-version with downloadable work documents and PDFs, making it much easier to send physicians medical source statements, etc. Whenever I have a question, I am usually able to easily find the answer in Mr. Bush’s book. It is an integral part of my practice and I would highly recommend it to anyone practicing in this area of the law. Additionally, the updates that are provided are crucial to keeping up with the ever-changing rules.
I recently purchased the latest edition of Thomas E. Bush, Social Security Practice, published December 2013, I have practiced for 15+ years in the area of Social Security Disability, Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury, and I find this book and the digital materials essential. I wish there were tomes of a similar nature in the other areas of practice that are as concise and useful.
It would be easy to think that this is simply a group of basic materials, not for the advanced practitioner, but this is not the case. Although each practitioner must develop his/her own style over the years, with letters crafted to the specifics of jurisdiction and practice, this guide is forever useful as a resource and manual. I find myself and utilizing a form weekly- and I have always been satisfied with the responses that medical providers give to the forms contained in this purchase.
In conclusion, even the seasoned practitioner can find a use and save much time by using Thomas Bushs’ book.
I have recently starting practicing Social Security Disability law and this book, so far, is very helpful. There is A LOT of information packed into these two binders, from the initial client interview to the final appeal that claimants have available to them. The books include all the forms that a practitioners need to effectively represent a claimant. The book also has a lot of practical tips included from a SSD lawyer who has been practicing for many years. Another helpful item that the book includes is a CD-ROM that has the entire book on it. This save so much effort and you don’t need to lug around those heavy books everywhere. It’s especially helpful for me because I travel between two offices. I would recommend this book to anyone starting an SSD practice, or even someone who has been dealing with SSD for a long time. Great book!
Rodd T. –
Social Security Disability Practice by Thomas E. Bush. Accept no substitutes! This is the primer go to guide for the modern social security disability representative. Compared with other practice guides, the two volumes of abundant practice reference, guidance and forms comes at a very reasonable price. The practice guide even comes with an extremely useful, easy to use CD. All in all, I would recommend this permanent fixture in my law library to every disability practitioner from the neophyte representative to the seasoned advocate. As long as I practice disability law, I will always come back to the Bush guide.
Admin Jennifer M. Manning –
The manual is very informative and written in a comprehensive, clear and concise manner that even a novice can understand and feel confident in assisting the claimant. The manuals are divide by tabs which allows you to navigate the subject matter quickly. I appreciated that Volume One begins with the initial client contact section and subsequently concludes with the pre-hearing procedure. Volume Two follows with the ALJ/Hearing, favorable decision, Appeals Council and etc. The Manuals covers every titles and processes associated with social security administration. It is a very resourceful research tool to have in one’s library. I highly recommend this book to all disability advocates.
Al T. –
In my view, practicing Social Security Disability without nearby access to these books is akin to legal malpractice. It is a complete and easy to read practice guide.
Teresa Keene –
These books are amazing. If you haven’t got another attorney to apprentice to on this practice area, buy these books. Comes with a zip file with every possible form too!!!!