On Wednesday April 25, 2018, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) presented the Eileen P. Sweeney Distinguished Service Award at its biannual conference for Social Security disability representatives in Atlanta, GA, to attorney and long-time member Kevin Liebkemann.
NOSSCR presents this award to an individual whose outstanding service has resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of advocacy for Social Security claimants, increase in the availability of advocacy for Social Security claimants, or improvement in the Social Security adjudicatory process. There is no doubt that Kevin is a worthy recipient of this honor.
Kevin Liebkemann is the Chief Section Counsel at Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ), a non-profit Legal Aid group that provides free legal counsel and representation for those who could not otherwise afford it. Kevin has been representing Social Security disability claimants for 25 years and has also provided countless hours of trainings for others. He is a member of a coalition of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) advocates and he has been at the forefront of the group in advancing improvements on important issues such as including getting the Social Security Administration to develop a Social Security Ruling (SSR) on PTSD. He has also been invited to present at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Functional Assessment for Adults with Disabilities meetings. “Kevin has been an incredible source of information and assistance for the over two decades that I have worked with him. He is always willing to share his expertise with other advocates and always looking for ways to make the disability programs better for claimants and recipients,” said Barbara Silverstone, NOSSCR’s Executive Director.
Fewer words are needed than Kevin’s own to portray that he is an incredible person and representative. Addressing the crowd upon receiving this award, he said:
“Take a moment and look around at all of the people here. Take a moment to think about what this group of people collectively represents. Collectively, this group is currently representing and giving hope to tens of thousands of the most vulnerable people with disabilities in this country. Without the help you provide many of those people would be alone, fighting a system they don’t fully understand, facing the prospect of financial ruin, homelessness, and lack of access to the basic necessities they need to live. To me, what this group does to help people in need is amazing.
Take another moment. Consider all the people with disabilities over the years who have received the critical benefits they were entitled to because NOSSCR members represented them. I have no doubt that number runs in the hundreds of thousands. You are part of an organization that has helped its members improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across America. That’s amazing.
NOSSCR plays a critical role in educating us to be better at helping our clients. At every NOSSCR Conference I have ever attended I have learned new ideas and techniques that have helped me win more cases. After the conference, I’m always inspired and eager to employ what I’ve learned, whether it be a new idea for cross examining an expert, or some other innovative idea for presenting a case. NOSSCR brings together many of the most experienced practitioners and others to share their knowledge with us, with the goal of helping us provide the best representation we can for our clients.”