This past month, I was able to attend the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives Spring Conference in Miami, Florida. Along with hundreds of other Social Security disability representatives, I spent three days in sunny Florida listening to a variety of topics from current trends in Social Security disability to ethics and how to be a better advocate.
One very interesting seminar centered on the new Social Security Ruling 16-3p. Under Social Security Ruling 16-3p, an Administrative Law Judge must limit their evaluation to the individual’s statement about his or her symptoms and the evidence in the record that is relevant to the individual’s impairments. An Administrative Law Judge may not assess an individual’s character or truthfulness in the manner typically used during an adversarial court litigation. Both speakers and participants in the NOSSCR conference are all interested to see the effect that Social Security Ruling 16-3p will have on an Administrative Law Judge’s assessment of a Claimant’s credibility.
I also attended a session on the Appeals Council. As of 2016, the Appeals Council is currently remanding 14% of all appeals filed after an unfavorable decision. Such a number is staggering. Our speaker, Eric Schnaufer, Esq. emphasized that arguments written to the Appeals Council should be brief in order to be most effective. Given the time constraints and the volume of appeals filed every year, the Appeals Council does not want to read lengthy briefs. Mr. Schnaufer advocated for simply worded, strong arguments as being the most successful at the Appeals Council level for Social Security disability.
I also attended an Ethics session which focused on a representative’s duty to submit all records relevant to a Claimant’s disability claim. The Honorable John Allen, Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge spoke at this session. Judge Allen put to rest many representatives growing concern over our duty to submit all evidence. Judge Allen stated that it was not necessary to submit duplicate records. He also clarified that it is a representative’s duty to submit evidence that is relevant to the Claimant’s disability claim. Evidence that is not relevant does not have to be submitted.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the NOSSCR conference! It was a great learning experience to hear different practice tips from other attorneys as well as shared concerns regarding the current wait time for Social Security disability claimants. I was also able to meet Social Security disability representatives from across the country. The location wasn’t bad either! I hope to be able to attend another NOSSCR conference in the future.
For more information on Social Security disability benefits, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court.