A brief writer’s guide to the law on the key issues. Pre-researched language and up-to-date citations you can import from the disk into your supporting papers. Contains (1) a case update summarizing recent cases, (2) an outline of the law of the last six years, and (3) digests of the regulations, rulings and cases organized by 44 issues.
Speed your research and drafting with the brief-writing tool that full-time brief writer Sarah Bohr created for her own use. You can efficiently produce the same persuasive and well-supported arguments that have been winning cases for disability lawyers around the country.
Language and citations you can quote in your memoranda, briefs, and oral arguments. This book includes approximately 500 pages of issue-oriented arguments and case summaries.
Sarah Bohr has assembled the arguments and cases she uses to construct winning briefs for social security disability practitioners around the nation. This valuable drafting tool, which is supported by over 3,000 citations, contains:
- A checklist of errors commonly occurring in the sequential evaluation process, assessment of disability, evaluating specific impairments, and administrative review.
- A summary of cases decided in the last four years, organized by circuit. This section includes a valuable table of cases organized by issue.
- An exhaustive outline of the law, organized first by issue and then by circuit, and drafted in argument format.
- Detailed dissection of 44 common issues. This section contains summaries of the applicable statutes, regulations, rulings, POMS, cases, and practice pointers.
- Over 50 model briefs.
The checklist of arguments helps you spot issues. The outline of law helps you apply the law to your case’s issues. The summary of recent cases allows you to quickly check new law in your circuit. The annotated issues pull together all the relevant statutes, regulations, POMS, and cases.
Now you can save time on your next research project with the most up-to-date and unique case digesting service for Social Security practitioners. It includes pre-researched language and up-to-date citations that you can use in all your supporting papers. You will get targeted analysis on these issues and more:
- Fibromyalgia and lupus cases
- Evaluation of pain testimony
- Medical equivalency and ALJ’s responsibilities
- ALJ’s duty to re-contact the treating physician
- Chronic fatigue syndrome cases
- Manipulative limitations on sedentary work
- Lack of updated RFC assessment in record
- Effect of borderline mental capacity on application of grids
- Weight of treating physician’s opinion
- Effect of daily activities on credibility
- Incomplete hypothetical questions and their effect on VE testimony
- Vocational expert testimony that conflicts with DOT
- Definition of severity
- Cases citing SSR 96-8p (RFC assessments)
- Cases citing SSR 96-9p (less than sedentary RFCs)
- Sit/stand option and its impact on sedentary work
- Failure to follow prescribed treatment due to lack of money
- Responding to “Post Hoc Justification” by the government briefs
- Mental retardation cases
- The “Worn-out Worker” regulation
- Retroactivity of the 1996 Rulings
- Authority of Hallex and Poms
- EAJA – Reasonableness of hours claimed
REVISION 12 HIGHLIGHTS
This update, with the addition of 66 reported new circuit case summaries decided through June 15, 2015 and 27 new winning briefs filed in courts in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, has made constructing winning briefs even easier. The circuits seem to be slowly shifting in the claimant’s favor, with several important decisions ruling for claimants. New material added to this year’s revision includes:
- Cogent summaries of new published cases from the circuit courts of appeal, illustrating how some circuit courts are shifting, as new judges replace retiring judges. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits have all issued published opinions reversing and remanding Social Security cases (and even paying benefits in some cases, like Gentry v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 741 F.3d 708 (6th Cir. 2014) and Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995 (9th Cir.2014)).
- Appeal of a dismissal – In the en banc decision in Boley v. Colvin, 761 F.3d 803 (7th Cir. 2014), the Seventh Circuit overruled Waters v. Harris, 656 F.2d 234 (7th Cir. 1980) and held that the district court abused its discretion in finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction based on 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), authorizing only review of decisions “made after a hearing.” The Court held that the statute’s reference to a “hearing” actually “means whatever process the [SSA] deems adequate to produce a final decision.”
- Mental retardation under Listing 12.05C is addressed in several cases including Reed v. Colvin, 779 F.3d 725 (8th Cir.2015); Lott v. Colvin, 772 F.3d 546 (8th Cir. 2014); Channell v. Colvin, 756 F.3d 606 (8th Cir. 2014); and Garcia v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 768 F.3d 925 (9th Cir. 2014).
- Surprising great decision from the Fourth Circuit – Mascio v. Colvin, 780 F.2d 632 (4th Cir. 2015), addressing the need to perform a “function by function analysis” in assessing RFC; the need to include limitation of concentration, persistence and pace in questioning the VE; and rejecting boilerplate credibility findings.
- Past relevant work – Copeland v. Colvin, 771 F. 3d 920 (5th Cir. 2014), holding that the ALJ erred in characterizing a job as past relevant work as the claimant’s earnings indicated it was never performed at the substantial gainful activity level. The Fifth Circuit held “that a rebuttable presumption of non-SGA arises when a claimant’s earnings fall below the earnings guidelines for SGA . . . .”
- Child’s SSI claim – Knight ex rel. P.K. v. Colvin, 756 F.3d 1171 (10th Cir. 2014) – addressing the need to consider the “whole child” as required by SSR 09-2p.
- VE testimony about job numbers – several opinions from the Seventh Circuit (Voigt v. Colvin, 781 F.3d 871 (7th Cir.2015); Herrmann v. Colvin, 772 F.3d 1110 (7th Cir. 2014); and Browning v. Colvin, 766 F.3d 702 (7th Cir. 2014)) casting doubt regarding the validity of VE testimony about job numbers apparently based on aggregate data or where the source and accuracy of the testimony has not been established.
- EAJA fees – several circuit decisions addressing EAJA fees, including the Seventh Circuit’s en banc decision in Sprinklev. Colvin, 777 F.3d 421 (7th Cir. 2015) overruling Mathews-Sheets v. Astrue, 653 F.3d 560 (7th Cir. 2011) regarding the evidence needed to obtain cost-of-living adjusted fees.
ABBREVIATED TABLE OF CONTENTS
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS
I. CASE UPDATE
II. CASE SURVEY
SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION PROCESS
ASSESSMENT OF DISABILITY ISSUES
SPECIFIC IMPAIRMENTS ISSUES
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW ISSUES
FEDERAL COURT ISSUES
SOURCE OF LAW ISSUES
III. ISSUE TOPICS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah H. Bohr is an appellate attorney who has specialized in Social Security law for over 30 years. She first began handling Social Security cases in 1978 as a non-attorney representative at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc., while she was awaiting her bar results. In her distinguished career, she has worked in all areas of the practice of Social Security law, from administrative representation, district court appeals (including class action litigation), circuit court appeals, to litigating before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ms. Bohr is a partner in Bohr & Harrington, LLC, a Jacksonville, Florida law firm offering a national Social Security brief writing service. She has written briefs for filing in district courts all across the country as well as in the First through Ninth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal and successfully argued Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103 (2000) before the Supreme Court.
She is a past president of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (“NOSSCR”) and a member of NOSSCR’s Council of Past Presidents. As President of NOSSCR, she had the privilege of testifying before the Social Security Subcommittee. She was also a 2007 recipient of NOSSCR’s Eileen P. Sweeney’s Distinguished Service Award, awarded in recognition of her distinguished service on behalf of people with disabilities in America. In February 2008, Ms. Bohr was also presented with a professionalism award by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, for her pro bono work as court-appointed Inventory Attorney in 72 Social Security federal court cases on behalf of the court.
Ms. Bohr is a frequent lecturer on Social Security issues at national conferences on a wide range of issues. She also is the author of four publications: Winning Appeals Council Arguments 5th Edition; Pocket Guide to Key Social Security Rulings 3rd Edition; Pocket Guide to Key Social Security Rulings 4th Edition; and Eleventh Circuit Social Security Cases 2013 Update.
Ms. Bohr is past Chair of The Florida Bar Council of Sections, past Chair of the Public Interest Law Section, and past Chair of the Juvenile Court Rules Committee and is an alumni of the Chester Bedell Inn of Court and Leadership Jacksonville.
Ms. Bohr obtained her law degree from Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. and previously worked as a legal services attorney for 20 years at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc.