NOSSCR FALL 2018 DISABILITY LAW CONFERENCE PROGRAM

San Francisco, CA
October 17-20, 2018
Click here to register. 

Wednesday, Oct.17

Thursday, Oct.18

Friday, Oct. 19

Saturday, Oct. 20

Stay in San Francisco and Enjoy the Sights!

 


Wednesday, October 17, 2018 

11:00 am-5:00 pm: Conference Registration

11:00 am-5:00 pm: Exhibit Hall Open

1:00 pm-2:00 pm: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.   ERIC C. CONN 2.0. A New Call for Volunteers

Ned Pillersdorf, Esq.
Evan Smith, Esq.

Bring your lunch to this session and learn how you can represent beneficiaries facing benefit termination due to accusations of fraudulent evidence in their files. The speakers will focus on Conn cases, but the procedures can be used for other situations, including beneficiaries who were patients of Fernando Mendez-Villamil, the former Miami psychiatrist who was sentenced to jail time for Medicare/Medicaid fraud.

SSA has issued approximately 2000 new redetermination notices in cases involving Eric Conn, the Kentucky Attorney recently convicted of bribing an administrative law judge in the Huntington hearing office from 2007- 2010. Thanks in great part to the pro bono services of NOSSCR attorneys, around half of those originally re-determined were able to retain benefits despite daunting obstacles SSA has placed in their way.

This session will review for new volunteers; how Kentucky legal aid organizations can partner with volunteers; how the 3- way video hearing process operates that allows attorneys to appear in these cases at their local OHO; how you can participate in the mentor program that pairs NOSSCR attorneys with Kentucky volunteers. 

B.  Low-Hanging Fruit! Identifying and Fixing Cases Denied Due to Erroneous Work History Reports and Step 4 Denials for 50+ Year Old Claimants

J. Daniel Gregory, Esq.

Learn how to fix three types of errors for relatively quick, easy wins:  1) when a job does NOT count as past relevant work, 2) when a job is a “composite” job, and 3) when claimant error on the work history report causes a Step 4 denial.

C.  How to Handle Ethical Dilemmas Surrounding a Social Security Case-ETHICS

Shelley Davidson, Esq.
Sarah White, Esq.

This presentation will focus on various fact situations that practitioners deal with on a day-to-day basis.  It will include dealing with lying or misrepresenting facts; continued abuse of drug addiction or alcoholism (DA&A); failure to pay fees on cessation case; handling withdrawal or termination by client, and many more.   We will suggest ways to handle problems as they arise and encourage discussions and questions from the audience.

2:15 pm-3:15 pm: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A. First Timers’ Session

If this is your first NOSSCR conference or if you are a new member, you are cordially invited to learn about NOSSCR and how to make the most of your conference experience.  Meet your Board representative, NOSSCR’s President, and Executive Director.

B.  Using the Best of the Remaining Rulings to Win Cases

Sarah Bohr, Esq

SSA has repealed key Rulings relied upon by advocates in addressing medical source opinions, such as SSR 96-2p, 96-5p and 06-3p.  With these repeals, SSR 96-8p addressing RFC takes on increased significance, as it is a vehicle still remaining for challenging the ALJ’s treatment of a medical source’s opinion.  This session will address SSR 96-8p as well as other existing Rulings that all practitioners should know, including all Rulings issued in the past five years.  It will also provide practical tips on effectively using key Rulings in your practice.

C.Breaking Good—Helping Clients Help Themselves

Andrew Kinney, Esq.
Tracy Kinney, Esq.

Some days, we may feel that despite explaining the law to our clients, we react to bad facts at hearings.  Ever wish you could turn back time and improve your cases?  Do something!  We will explain how your clients can play an active role in their medical case and in the Social Security benefits process.  Result: win-win!!

3:15 pm-3:30 pm: Break

3:30 pm- 4:30 pm: Welcoming General Session

Speakers will include Theresa L. Gruber, Deputy Commissioner,  OHO, and representatives from the Chief Administrative Law Judge’s office.

4:45 pm-5:45 pm:

Regional Updates—Circuits 3, 4 & DC, 6, 7 and 8

These sessions will focus on local areas of concern.  Led by your circuit board representative, participants will learn about case law and recent policy updates that affect their practice and discuss ways to implement these changes into their practice.  Topics may include how the Office of Hearings Operations schedule hearings, how the ALJs implement the five-day rule, and how ALJs are weighing medical evidence and interpreting the new code of conduct.  Practice tips to speed processing of cases can also be discussed.  

PAC INFORMATION MEETING

NOSSCR Members Only

NOSSCR members may hear from NOSSCR’s PAC Board and Office of Government Affairs about what the PAC is doing to strive for improvements in the disability programs and how you can be involved.  This session will be repeated at 5:50 pm.

5:50 pm-6:50 pm:

Regional Updates— Circuits 1, 2, 5, 9, 10 and 11

These sessions will focus on local areas of concern.  Led by your circuit board representative, participants will learn about case law and recent policy updates that affect their practice and discuss ways to implement these changes into their practice.  Topics may include how the Office of Hearings Operations schedule hearings, how the ALJs implement the five-day rule, and how ALJs are weighing medical evidence and interpreting the new code of conduct.  Practice tips to speed processing of cases can also be discussed.  

PAC INFORMATIONAL MEETING

NOSSCR Members Only

NOSSCR members may hear from NOSSCR’s PAC Board and Office of Government Affairs about what the PAC is doing to strive for improvements in the disability programs and how you can be involved. This is a repeat of the session presented at 4:45 pm.

7:00 pm: Next Generation Cocktail Hour 

Please join the NOSSCR Next Generation Committee for a cocktail hour at Urban Tavern, located in the conference hotel.  Attendees will be responsible for the purchase of their beverage(s). 

7:30 pm: Optional Dine-Arounds

No need to eat alone!  Join other attendees for a night of casual dining and fun with some new and some familiar faces! NOSSCR will make reservations at a few local restaurants for evening dinner.  Sign-up sheets will be posted on NOSSCR’s message board in the registration area.  Sign up for your dinner during check in on Wednesday afternoon. Meet new people, try a new cuisine and explore San Francisco! Each attendee will be responsible for paying for his or her meal costs.

 

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Thursday, October 18, 2018 

7:00 am-5:00 pm: Conference Registration

7:00 am-5:00 pm: Exhibit Hall Open

7:00 am-8:30 am: Networking Breakfast

Enjoy your continental breakfast while networking with your colleagues.

8:00 am- 9:00 am: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.    And So it Begins:  Social Security- an Introduction—Part 1

Stacy Cloyd, Esq.
Alan Polonsky, Esq. 

Social Security Law has been described as an inch wide and a mile deep.  Join us as we traverse that inch with a few deep dives along the way.  Topics covered will include: the difference between SSDI and SSI; how to file an application or an appeal at all levels from initial claims to federal court; the sequential evaluation process; preparing yourself and your client for the hearing including a short dive into the use and abuse of vocational witnesses; and for the brave of heart, a brief discussion about being paid for your labor.  

This session continues at 9:15 am

B.   The Other 91%:  Why Practitioners Should Be Much More Aggressive in Taking Cases to Federal Court and How to Structure Your Practice for Success

Elizabeth Haungs, Esq.
Timothy Hiller, Esq.

This workshop will present a summary of the Administrative Law Judge, Appeals Council and United States District Court disposition data both from publicly available sources and from our firm’s experience over the last 5 years; tips for organizing your practice to handle an influx of federal court cases; a guide for how you can develop your knowledge of the caselaw; and all the mistakes we’ve made that you don’t have to live through.

C.  Conduct of Representatives and Standards of Responsibility--ETHICS

Paul Eaglin, Esq.

This presentation covers the SSA’s regulatory and sub-regulatory provisions relating to claimants’ representatives’ obligations and agency disciplinary authority over us.  This presentation will address recently revised Rules of Conduct, effective August 1, 2018, which also includes changes to the procedures used when charges are brought against a representative for violating these rules.  It will include the relevant HALLEX and POMS provision as well as any pertinent SSRs that touch upon the disciplinary process such as SSR 17-4p that is notably threatening toward representatives in rather explicit terms.

9:00 am-9:15 am: Break

9:15 am-10:15 am: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.  And So it Begins:  Social Security- an Introduction—Part 2

Stacy Cloyd, Esq.
Alan Polonsky, Esq.

Social Security Law has been described as an inch wide and a mile deep.  Join us as we traverse that inch with a few deep dives along the way.  Topics covered will include: the difference between SSDI and SSI; how to file an application or an appeal at all levels from initial claims to federal court; the sequential evaluation process; preparing yourself and your client for the hearing including a short dive into the use and abuse of vocational witnesses; and for the brave of heart, a brief discussion about being paid for your labor.  

This is a continuation of the 8:00 am session.

B. An Introduction to Overpayments:  What Are They? When Can They Occur? What can Be Done About Them? How Can I Get Paid? and How to Help a Client With This Type of Case?

Raymond Cebula, Esq.

Overpayments plague the Title II and SSI systems, particularly when people attempt to work.  Learn who is responsible to repay the overpayment.  What do to if the overpayment isn’t correct or the reasoning is completely confused.  Using the reconsideration in tandem with a Waiver and, most importantly, how should SSA be determining who is “at fault” when an overpayment occurs.  We will also have a short discussion of fee availability and processes necessary.

C.  Not Relying on Hunches—Deciding Rationally Which Cases to Take on and Which to Decline

Charles Hall, Esq.

This workshop will discuss what factors should and shouldn’t be considered in deciding which prospective clients to take on and which to decline and suggested criteria.

10:15 am-10:45 am: Coffee with the Exhibitors

We encourage you to spend these 30 minutes meeting our exhibitors and learning about the products they have to offer.

NOSSCR members who are admitted to the Supreme Court will be available to sign Supreme Court Admission forms as sponsors for those considering participation in NOSSCR’s Supreme Court Admission Day, June 17, 2019.

10:45 am- 12:15 pm: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.  Neuropsychological Testing as Tool for Meeting a Listing and/or Eroding the Occupational Base for a Challenging Homeless Population

Molly Brennan, Esq.
Ginny Estupinian, Ph. D.
Irene Guerra, Ph. D.

Addiction and mental illness have long been associated with homelessness.  Often overlooked, however, is the link between brain injury and homelessness.  Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the disruption of normal brain activity, symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, insomnia, memory problems, trouble maintaining focus, irritability and an inability to interact with others; all of which impact a person’s ability to work.  This session will look at the importance of Neuropsychological testing, particularly for our homeless clients; how to interpret the results to translate into impairments that effect day-to-day work functioning, and present the results at hearing.  The Medical Legal Partnership at the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System’s Homeless Healthcare Program is used as a case study illustrating the success at the hearing level with collaboration of medical staff and the critical need of Neuropsychological testing for the homeless population.

B. Pulling Back the Curtain:  Maximizing Social Security Benefits for the Household

Avram Sacks, Esq.

Social Security benefits are more than just disability benefits, which account for only 15% of all Title II benefits paid.  Receipt of a disability benefit has ramifications for the spouse and other dependent family members. Do you know if the Social Security Administration is paying your clients all that they should receive if they receive workers’ compensation, or a pension based on non-covered earning? This session will “pull-back the curtain” on Social Security benefits and explain how benefits are calculated, what factors may decrease or increase a benefit, and what other benefits may be available to dependent family members. When more than one benefit is paid into a household, a representative should be able to determine what claiming strategy will maximize cumulative lifetime benefits for the entire.  This session will help all representatives to better help their clients by explaining the major strategies that can be used to maximize cumulative lifetime benefits for a household.

C.  20 Years in The Wilderness: Confronting Fake Vocational Testimony—Your Ethical Duty and How to Do It ----ETHICS* (Some states have approved this for Ethics, please check with your BAR Association if eligible.) 

Robert Angermeier, Esq.
David Traver, Esq.

This workshop will teach the basics of dismantling VE testimony that relies upon governmental and non-governmental statistics (e.g. Occupational Employment Quarterly and Job Browser Pro).  Ethical obligations also discussed.

12:15 pm-1:30 pm: Lunch (on your own) 

1:30 pm-2:30 pm: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.  The More Your Prep the More You Know:  How to Win Hearings

Jasmine Dickerson, Esq.
Jennifer Manger, Esq.

Worried about going in front of an ALJ?  Scared of Medical and Vocational Experts, or even your client?  This seminar will focus on strategies and methods for preparation of a hearing in front of an ALJ.  We will discuss:  how to outline and review the exhibit file, thoughtfully obtain medical records, prepare the client for testimony, draft persuasive pre-hearing and post-hearing memorandum, and we will provide tips for your cross examination of vocational and medical experts.  We will also discuss unfavorable decisions and how they give insight to the thought process of ALJs.  These methods will improve your chances for success.

B.   The O*NET—Why We Should Use It Now and What it Contains—Cross Examination of VEs

Lawrence Rohlfing, Esq.

The O*NET uses incumbent surveys to determine the requirements of work.  The Department of Labor intended it to replace the DOT.  The data now granulates into pieces that permit you to determine whether a sit-stand option exists or whether work requires teamwork/contact with others.  Come and see how to use this information before SSA folds it into the upcoming Occupational Information System.

C. ERISA Claims Regulations that Apply to LTD Claims:  Understanding the ERISA Claims Regulations and How to Use Them to Help Your Client Get the LTD Benefits your Client Deserves

Eric Buchanan, Esq.

ERISA law offers many advantages for insurance companies who want to deny your clients’ claims; however, you can fight those advantages if you understand the rules that can be used to your clients’ advantage. The U.S. Department of Labor claims regulations are very useful tools that can be used to advance our clients’ cases. This session will cover which regulations cover our clients’ claims, and which claims can take advantage of the 2018 amendments, and how to use both versions of the regulations to protect our clients’ rights.

2:30 pm-2:45 pm: Break

2:45 pm-3:45 pm: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.   Dancing with the Devil:   Survival Skills for Your Client in the age of “Twenty-Percenter” ALJs

John Goss, Esq.

It’s not a lost cause.  ALJs who turn down 8 out of 10 cases often commit reversible error.   So don’t give up.  But preparing your client for a hostile environment takes a different skillset.  This session will offer you some strategies for creating a scenario that will give your client a fighting chance.

B.  Staying on Top:  Handling MEs Before, During and After a Hearing

Luis Gracia, Esq. 

This workshop will provide representatives with useful, practical and efficient methods on how to best manage and handle ME testimony.

C.  ERISA Statues of Limitations that Apply to LTD Claims:  How to Not Commit Malpractice if Your Client Asks for Help with an LTD Case

Eric Buchanan, Esq.

This workshop explains how to calculate the statute of limitations in your client’s ERISA LTD claim.  Determining the time limit to take an LTD case to court can involve very complex calculations requiring an understanding of the overlapping rules found in the ERISA claims regulations, ERISA case law, and the particular ERISA LTD insurance policy. This session will help practitioners learn how to calculate the time limits, and to understand how to best deal with situations where there is no clear answer.

3:45 pm-4:00 pm: Break 

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Workshops:  Choose one from the following: 

A.  Supreme Court Update

Cody Marvin, Esq.
Larry Rohlfing, Esq.

The workshop will discuss three Supreme Court cases that may affect the Social Security disability practice: 

Lucia v. SEC, in which the Court held that the appointment of an SEC ALJ was unconstitutional, without explicitly addressing the constitutionality of the Social Security Administration's ALJs; 

Culbertson v. Berryhill, which asks whether the 25% cap on 406(b) fees applies only to work performed in federal court separate from 406(a) fees for work performed before the Administration, or whether the 25% cap applies to the total fees under both 406(a) and 406(b); 

Biestek v. Berryhill, which asks whether ALJs must require vocational experts to provide the underlying basis for their testimony if it is requested by the claimant.

B.  How to Prepare Your Case from the End of Intake Through Five Days Prior to Hearing Including Effective Use of HITECH

James Brown, Esq.

This workshop will discuss what to do as soon as a client hires you; the best methods to notify physicians that you are representing their patients at the onset of the claim; continual communication with your client to stay current on their physicians and hospitalizations as well as their condition; what should be done by the representative and what should be done by support staff; how best to win claims at initial application and reconsideration and how to write effective pre-hearing memoranda. 

C.  Disability Jeopardy—A Little NOSSCR Fun

Laura Hernandez, Esq.
Mike Kelly, Esq.

Disability Jeopardy is a game that tests your knowledge of SSA’s disability programs and evidentiary requirements.  There will be three rounds and volunteers are needed!  Prizes will be awarded for all participants and a top prize for the Disability Jeopardy winner.  Contestants will be tested on topics such as, but not limited to:  Who’s Who, the Act, Rulings and Regulations, Listings and Caselaw, HALLEX/POMS, Federal Court and Wildcard.  Get ready for the “Daily Double” and “Final Jeopardy.”  Have fun playing or just watch (no hints or “lifelines” to the contestants please!)  Good luck, Jeopardy players!

5:30 pm-6:30pm: President’s Cocktail Reception

Please join us in recognizing NOSSCR’s 2017-2018 President Janna Lowenstein, incoming President John Driskill and all past presidents for their dedicated service to NOSSCR by enjoying light snacks and a drink with your colleagues.  There will be no speeches and your guests are welcome at this event.

 

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Friday, October 19, 2018

7:00 am-8:30 am: Networking Breakfast

Enjoy your continental breakfast while networking with your colleagues.

7:00 am-5:00 pm: Exhibit Hall Open

7:30 am-8:00 am: Business Meeting

Open to all NOSSCR members.

8:00 am-9:00 am: Workshops:  Choose one from the following: 

A. POMS—The Friend You Need and Need to Know Well

Debra Shifrin, Esq.

Every representative must be up to date on the POMS, their uses and abuses.  As the Administration comes up with more and more ways to deny claims, we need to be aware of the hidden gems we can use to help sway the decision in favor of our clients.  This workshop will go over the recent changes and the old friends you can use in your practice.

B. Crash Course:  Hearing Preparation

Rigoberto Vindiola, Esq.

You’re new to the practice, there’s a stack of files on your desk, you have five hearings next week, and GO!  This practical session will show beginners an accessible method of preparing for hearings to get you up and running quickly.  Learn to navigate the exhibit folder and case documents, what you should expect to find there and what may be missing, what to keep in mind about your client while you go through the evidence and more.

C. Understanding the Alphabet Soup of CDRs

Kate Callery, Esq.
Louise Tarantino, Esq.

Increased funding for “program integrity” at SSA means more Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs).  This workshop will help prepare advocates to represent CDR claimants at both the Disability Hearing Unit (DHU) and Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) levels.  It will cover the CDR process and sequential evaluation and explore the concept of “medical improvement.”  It will also include procedures for securing “continued benefits” during the appeal process, and tips for dealing with CDI (Cooperative Disability Investigation) reports that arise during the process.

9:00 am-9:15 am: Break

9:15 am-10:45 am: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A. Cross-Examination of Vocational Witnesses

Charles Martin, Esq.
George Piemonte, Esq.

Two experienced appellate attorneys will discuss common deficiencies in the record that lead to an adverse ALJ decision, and explore ways of avoiding problems that make it easy for an ALJ to deny a claim and hard to win an appeal.  This will include discussion of how to cross-examine the vocational witness, and why asking your own hypothetical questions is not cross-examination.  We will also discuss obtaining rebuttal evidence following a hearing.

B. Effective Advocacy in HIV/AIDS Cases

Jessica Hallett, Esq.
Kendall Holbrook, Esq.
Royce Lin, MD

This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of advocating for Social Security benefits for HIV-positive clients. We will discuss the criteria for meeting the HIV-related listings, the basics of how HIV operates in the body and how it is treated, some common medications and their side effects, and general practice tips for advocacy in these cases.  This presentation will go over recent changes that have been made to several rules impacting HIV-related disability advocacy, highlighting those that present new challenges (and in some cases, opportunities).  We will also discuss how the impact of long-term medications and mental health implications of HIV. We will discuss what to look for in medical records and how to communicate with providers to obtain the most helpful, supportive evidence in HIV cases. Dr. Lin will round out the presentation with a medical perspective and answer questions related to the ways that HIV/AIDS can be relevant in disability cases.

C. Troubled Waters: When Do Mentally Ill Clients Pose a Threat to the Safety of Their Representatives, Judges and the General Public? Under What Circumstances Does Duty to Warn Arise?

Karen Fukutaki, MD
Joshua Potter, Esq. 

Forensic Psychiatrist Karen Fukutaki and attorney Joshua Potter will explore the contours and crenulations of psycho pathology.  Social Security will provide extra security that can include Federal Protective Services once alerted to potential danger.  It is never a good idea to cry wolf or to play with fires.  We all need to stay safe, help our clients and minimize conflicts.

10:45 am-11:00 am: Break

11:00 am-12:00 noon: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.   Ethical Issues Raised by New Regulations--ETHICS

David Camp, Esq.
Robert Crowe, Esq.

The new regulations published by Social Security over the last three years have enhanced and focused the ethical obligations of representatives.  This session will address questions concerning the gathering and production of evidence submission to Social Security, zealous advocacy, and how to handle administrative duties in a claim that also involves a criminal fraud investigation.  The “five-day” rule of 20 CFR 404.935, “all evidence” rule of 20 CFR 404-1512, and the Rules of Conduct in 20 CFR 404.1740 must all be considered together with state-bar ethics duties.  Those duties must be analyzed with an understanding of Social Security’s reliance on the Supremacy Clause.   The most recent revisions to 20 CFR 404.1740 (rules of conduct) will be discussed.  This session will also outline several minimum standards for professional conduct in a Social Security matter, including accessing claim files electronically constant monitoring of changes to the electronic file and claim status, early submission of evidence and practical ways to assist the claimant by assisting the ALJ.

B.  Appeals:  When to Hold’em—When to Fold’em—How to Play’em

Mary Meadows, Esq.

This workshop is designed to help practitioners evaluate the unfavorable administrative law judge decision for the merits of an appeal, including evaluating whether the case can be won on remand.  It will address the type of issues most likely to succeed at the Appeals Council and in federal district court.  It may also help practitioners figure out how to improve the case on remand or on a new application.

C. Rethinking How We handle Mental RFCs and Hypothetical Questions at Hearings

Dana Duncan, Esq.

The ALJ proposes a hypothetical question: The hypothetical claimant is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks, few if any workplace changes, few if any workplace decisions, no fast-paced production, no public contact, brief and superficial contact with coworkers and supervisors. Are there jobs such a person can do?  This workshop will teach you how to address such boilerplate terms, how to prepare your client to testify, how to craft effective hypothetical questions and how to question a medical expert.  You will also learn how to refine your medical source statements and use the Diagnostic Systems Manual (DSM 5) to help develop your case.  Finally, it will help you create a record that makes reversal at the Appeals Council and Federal Court more likely should that be necessary.

12:00 noon-1:15 pm: Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm-2:45 pm: Workshops:   Choose one from the following:

A. Administrative and Court Fees—Maximizing Fees, Minimizing Hassle

Thomas Bush, Esq.
Debra Shifrin, Esq.

This workshop will address how to obtain approval and collect what you are owed as easily and expeditiously as possible.  We will discuss the law, regulations, POMS, HALLEX, and case law provisions concerning attorney fees for representation at the administration level and in federal court.  We will show how the fee agreement process, the fee petition process, fees approved by a federal court under 42 U.S.C. §406(b) and the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) all fit together.

B.  Pushing the Limit:  A Guide to Getting a Win Out of Medical Experts

Kevin Kerr, Esq.
Robert Sklaroff, MD
Sara Rose Smith, Esq.

This program will focus on asking not-so-obvious questions of medical experts. The trick to good medical expert cross-examination is knowing exactly what limits you need to win your specific client’s case. Who would have thought that “throw away limits” like occasional vibrations could be outcome determinative in a case? Often not the SSA’s medical experts.  

We look forward to trying out some of our questioning on Robert Sklaroff, MD who testifies as a medical expert for the SSA on a routine basis. He will tell us what information he believes representatives need to be prepared with to give answers to these types of questions.  

C.  Supplemental Security 101

Ann Rubinstein, Esq.
Meghan Corman Pluimer, Esq.

The Homeless Action Center has been representing clients in SSI and SSDI claims for over 25 years. This workshop will cover the difference between SSI and SSDI, the definition of disability, the 5-step evaluation process, the application and appeals process.  It will also touch on how drug and alcohol use impact claims, how medical opinions are weighed, what MEs and VEs are about and how to advocate at each step of the process.

2:45 pm-3:00pm: Break

3:00 pm-4:15 pm: Closing General Session – Where Do We Go from Here?

We call this a closing general session, but don’t forget there are more session on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  The conference isn’t over yet.  There is still a lot more to learn!

John Driskill, NOSSCR President, Opening Remarks
Barbara Silverstone, NOSSCR Executive Director, The Advocate’s Perspective
Lisa Ekman, Stacy Cloyd, NOSSCR’s Office of Government Affairs, Washington Update

40th Anniversary logo reveal

4:15 pm-4:30 pm: Break

4:30 pm-5:30 pm: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.   Navigating the Childhood Listings and Rulings—What You Need to Know to Effectively Advocate and Ultimately Win a Child’s Case

Stacy Thompson, Esq.

This workshop will walk you through the applicable SSA Listings and Rulings to properly evaluate a child’s case and to effectively develop your case argument for the hearing.  From the initial intake through the case conclusion, this session will cover the information that must be gathered from parents, caretakes, teachers and physicians to prove that the child meets or medially equals a Listing or functionally equals the Listings and will include an in-depth discussion of the six domains of functioning.  Learn how to prepare the parents, and possibly the child, for the hearing and how to make the most of their testimony before the ALJ.

B.  Finding and Proving a Theory of Disability 

Charles Martin, Esq.
George Piemonte, Esq.

This workshop will teach you how to win more cases by finding and proving a specific theory of disability.  One of the most common problems in appeals of ALJ denials is the failure to identify and prove a specific basis for disability, and this session will help you avoid that problem.

C.  Post-Hearing Title II Public Disability Offsets:  An Effective and Simplified Approach to Maximize Client Benefits

Rick Gutstadt, Esq.

Workers’ Compensation and State Disability Insurance (SDI) offsets can have far-reaching, negative consequences for DIB claimants.  This workshop will provide 1) a basic formula to understand the 80% rule, which determines net DIB benefits, 2) procedures to avoid or minimize time spent post-hearing, and 3) sample reconsideration appeals of erroneous award notices.  In issuing retroactive benefits, the most common Social Security mistake is working with incomplete or inaccurate public disability information.  Advocates can streamline the post-hearing process by submitting relevant public disability information before the hearing.  By using a simple formula, calculating net past-due benefits becomes a relatively simple process.  Workers’ Compensation benefits can be difficult to quantify, particularly in light of benefit changes and lump sum settlements.  However, by utilizing attorney fees and other legitimate medical expenses, including Medicare Set Aside Trusts, representatives can increase net retroactive benefits to their clients.

 

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Saturday, October 20, 2018 

7:00am-8:30am: Networking Breakfast

Enjoy your continental breakfast while networking with your colleagues.

7:00 am-10:10 am: Exhibit Hall Open

8:00 am-9:00 am: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.  How to Provide Excellent Representation for Transgender Clients:  Cultural Humility and Other Important Topics-- This training may be eligible for “Elimination of Bias” MCLE credit, please check with your local BAR Association.

Gail Silverstein, Professor of Law
Kate Walsham, Esq.

This interactive presentation will begin with an opening discussion of the social construction of sex and gender to ensure that all attendees have a shared vocabulary and understanding of the broad context of this topic.  In the second half of the session, attendees will discuss and learn about problems that transgender clients face in the Social Security context, including issues with their health care providers, judges and consultative examiners.  Attendees will leave the session with specific information and techniques to utilize to benefit their representation of transgender clients.  This training may count for “elimination of bias” MCLE credit.

B. SSDI Work Incentives

Raymond Cebula, Esq.

A primer on work incentives provided to beneficiaries of SSDI and other Title II benefits that will allow the practitioner to have a meaningful discussion of the impact of earned income on both case and healthcare benefits as well as making an appropriate and useful referral to benefits planners who can provide free, intensive planning services for beneficiaries who choose to work.

C. An Overview of the Veterans Service Connected Disability Process—Part 1

Michael Quatrini, Esq.

A beginner’s guide to the Veteran’s Affairs service connected disability process, from application through appeals to the Court of Appeals for Veterans claims.

9:10 am-10:10 am: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.  Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) and Fraud Issues

David Camp, Esq.
Steve Weiss, Esq.

When Social Security and the Office of the Inspector General started the Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) program in 1998 they had units in only five states.  They have since expanded to 40 units in 34 states.  With a statutory mandate to expand the CDI into all 50 states by 2022, every representative will soon encounter CDI investigations and reports.  What should you do when your client receives a visit from CDI investigators?  How should you handle a CDI report’s appearance in the exhibits?  This session will review best practices for minimizing the damage done by a CDI investigation and report, and legal issues raised by the program generally.  Claimants subjected to CDI investigations need advocates, equipped with a good understanding of the CDI program and its limitations.

B. SSI Work Incentives

Raymond Cebula, Esq.

A primer on work incentives provided to recipients of SSI that will allow the practitioner to have a meaningful discussion of the impact of earned income on both case and healthcare benefits as well as making an appropriate and useful referral to benefits planners who can provide free, intensive planning services for recipients who choose to work.

C.  An Overview of the Veterans Service Connected Disability Process—Part 2

Michael Quatrini, Esq.

This session will close out our review of the veteran’s appeal process and dive into specific case studies involving spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and “acquired psychiatric disorders.”

10:20 am-11:20 am: Workshops:  Choose one from the following:

A.  Trauma Informed Representation as Cultural Competence

Heather Freinkel, Esq.
Mary Gilg, Esq.

The Homeless Action Center has been representing homeless and marginally housed clients for over 25 years.  Many of our clients have experienced significant trauma in their pasts, including as children, in domestic relationships, or trauma inherent in long term poverty. Having a history of trauma informs how individuals relate to the world, including to their legal representative.  For that reason, those of us who represent people with chronic illnesses, mental health conditions, and those living in poverty will be better able to provide competent representation if we take a trauma informed approach.  This workshop will discuss why and how to integrate trauma informed practice into your representation.

B.  Disability Marketing (for Dummies):  Building the Practice of Your Dreams Without Breaking the Bank

Michael Liner, Esq.
Andrew November, Esq.

Are you struggling to grow your disability practice?  Are you tired of seeing other disability firms spending big money on advertising that lures your potential clients away?  Then this session is for you.  In this workshop, we will “give the house away” and share how you can build a thriving, sustainable disability practice without spending any money on expensive advertising or purchasing leads.

C.  New and Improved?  A Discussion of the RAMP Appeal Process and other updates from the Veterans Administration—Part 3

Michael Quatrini, Esq.

The new RAMP appeal process promises a faster adjudication of appeals.  But, how does it work?  And, should you use it?

 

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Stay in San Francisco and Enjoy the Sights! 

NOSSCR has a limited number of tickets for registrants available for a tour of Alcatraz on Saturday, October 20 at 1:00 pm.  The tickets are available through our registration portal on first come first served for $38.00 per person.  The tour will last approximately 3 hours and transportation is on your own.

NOSSCR is also arranging a tour at a local museum.  Stay tuned for more information.


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