Balin Law disability attorney, Matthew Shupe, was a speaker at the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s half day seminar where several Social Security Disability topics were discussed on June 22, 2017. Topics included attorney fees, the Five Day Rule, opinion evidence, and estate planning; all important topics for disability claimants. Below is a summary of topics discuss:
Attorney Fees at the Administrative Level and Federal Court
We discussed the interaction between 406(a) fees, 406(b) fees, and Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) fees in Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income cases. The goal of the session was to encourage the strategic use of these three statutory provisions to maximize clients’ back due benefits and, therefore, attorney fees as attorneys are only paid if a case is won.
The Five Day Rule
We discussed the practical implications of the hearing record being closed 5 business days before the date of the hearing. We also discussed a lawyer’s duty to inform the court of any outstanding evidence and how the closure of the record may conflict with our duty to continually supplement the record up to the point an administrative law judge (ALJ) issues his or her decision.
The audience’s experience was that different ALJs are handling this rule change differently within the same Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), let alone amongst different ODARs.
What is the Five Day Rule?
The Five Day Rule states that a disability lawyer must submit any written evidence no later than five business days before the date of the scheduled hearing. If the lawyer does not comply with this requirement by the Social Security Administration, the administrative law judge may decline to consider the evidence.
Opinion Evidence: Understanding the New Law
This discussion was very similar to our last blog post on changes to the treating physician rule. Because the change only applies to cases filed after March 27, 2017, it will be several months before hearings are held and we see the practical effect of this change.
The purpose of the change in opinion evidence and acceptable medical sources defined by the Social Security Administration was to
clarify how the Social Security Administration considers opinions from sources who are not “acceptable medical sources” and how we consider decisions by other governmental and nongovernmental agencies on the issue of disability or blindness.
Estate Planning and Social Security Disability
We discussed giving peace of mind to parents with a special needs child or children. The various types of trusts available to allow for the care of a disabled child and to allow for receipt of Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid coverage were addressed. Individuals planning their estates with beneficiaries who may be on SSI should understand the implications of leaving assets to these individuals or in a trust.
There was a lot discussed at this half day seminar discussing four main topics related to Social Security Disability and disability claimants. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact Balin Law toll free at 866-492-2546.