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Social Security Disability Law Section


Social Security Disability Newsletter - February 2015

by Sue Bores | Feb 09, 2015

E-Newsletter Editor:  Michael Persellin   


Ethics in Social Security Benefit Claims

Friday, March 06, 2015 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM 

Deadline to Register: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 l Click here to register.

If you represent clients in Social Security benefit claims, this ethics CLE surveys the state and federal rules that govern:

(1)    Taking new clients, 
(2)    Communicating with current clients, 
(3)    Evidence disclosure with SSA, and
(4)    Fees (contingent/petitions/flat).

The presenter is Andrew Kinney, attorney with Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik., PLLC.  He is Co-Chair of the Social Security Disability Law Section and is an editor of the “Social Security Practice Guide”, published by LexisNexis.  He began practicing Social Security Benefit Law in 1992.  

Lunch will start at Noon followed by the CLE program from 12:15-1:15 p.m.  Special meal requests need to be received no later than Tuesday, March 3.

CLE Credit:  1.0 Ethics Credit Applied | Event Code: 201538  

Social Security Disability Law Section Member:  Free
MSBA Member but not a member of the Social Security Disability Law Section:  $15.00
Non-MSBA Members:  $20.00
Law Students: Free

Remote Participation:  Remote attendance is available.  Please indicate that you will attend remotely when registering.  Instructions will be sent via e-mail on Thursday, March 5.

Presentation by the Honorable Richard Thrasher, Chief ALJ of MPLS ODAR

Monday, April 06, 2015 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Deadline to Register: Wednesday, April 1, 2015 l Click here to register.

The Social Security Disability Law Section is excited to announce that our new chief ALJ has accepted our invitation to speak to our section!  He will discuss the current state of ODAR and outline his goals.  We will also invite him to answer our questions about how any policies and procedures may impact our Social Security practices.

Annual Meeting & Council Elections:  The Social Security Disability Law Section's Annual Meeting will start at Noon, followed by the CLE program from 12:15-1:15 p.m.  As part of the annual meeting, the section will elect new officers and council members for the 2015-2016 bar term.  

Nominations are being accepted for two year council terms starting on July 1 and ending on June 30, 2017.  Persons interested in serving on the Council should contact Sue Bores to be added to the slate of candidates. 

Lunch will be provided.  Special meal requests need to be received no later than Wednesday, April 1.

Presenter:  Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard Thrasher

CLE Credit:  1.0 Standard CLE Credits Applied | Event Code: 201647  

Social Security Disability Law Section Member:  Free
MSBA Member but not a member of the Social Security Disability Law Section:  $15.00
Non-MSBA Members:  $20.00
Law Students: Free

Remote Participation: Remote attendance is available.  Please indicate that you will attend remotely when registering.  Instructions will be sent via e-mail on Friday, April 3.


Call for Nominations to the Governing Council

Deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, March 6, 2015. 

The Social Security Disability Law Section is accepting nominations for Council members for a two year term starting on July 1, 2015 and ending on June 30, 2017.   The Council shall consist of not less than nine nor more than twenty members.    In addition to the council positions, nominations are also being accepted to fill the officer roles:  two Co-Chairs, Secretary and Treasurer.

Council and Officer elections will take place at the section's Annual Meeting on April 6.
Persons interested in serving on the Council may nominate themselves or be nominated by another member of the section.  Please submit all nominations no later than Friday, March 6 to Sue Bores at
Nominations should include the following information:
  1. Nominee’s full name
  2. Nominee’s workplace/organization
  3. Nominee’s phone number and email address
  4. A brief bio or a link to the nominee’s bio
  5. Nominator’s name and contact information 


Each and every member of our section is welcome, and encouraged, to submit news for the section newsletter. News is anything our members might find interesting or helpful, and may include a link to a news story, an article you’ve written for another publication, a helpful practice form, or a case summary – anything relative to our practice area. Please send submissions for the April newsletter to the editor at by April 1.


SSA Extending Field Office Hours Extra Hour Most Days Beginning March 16|StarTribune

SSA Will Not Provide Representatives “Free Detail Summary” with 2014 1099-MISC|SSA

Meet Ida May Fuller, Recipient of 1st Social Security Check 75 Years Ago|StarTribune

Republicans Continue to Block Appointment of Carolyn Colvin as Commissioner of SSA|NY Times

Amerca's Broken Program for Low-Income Children with Disabilities|American Enterprise Institute

GOP Wants to Reallocate SS Payroll Tax Revenue from Retirement Fund to Disability Fund|LA Times 

GOP Plan to Block SSA’s Traditional Funding:  Do the Republicans Misunderstand SS or Just Feign Ignorance?|NOSSCR

SS Payments Will Be Cut by a Fifth if Congress Does Not Act|Washington Post

Most Americans Favor Paying More to Fix SSA’s Finances|NOSSCR

Where SS Benefits Go (Maps)|Washington Post

SSA Inspector General: Improper ALJ Allowances Cost Taxpayers $2Billion|NY Times

Obama Immigration Executive Action Includes SS and Medicare Eligibility|NY Times

State Republicans Want to Phase Out Taxes on SS Checks|StarTribune


SSA Web Site            

SSA Programs Operations Manual System (POMS)

SS Rulings and Acquiescence Rulings


The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the following opinion on December 22, 2014:

Bernard v. Colvin, 774 F.3d 482 (8th Cir.2014)

Substantial evidence supported ALJ’s credibility determination.  Claimant could perform number of activities of daily living on sustained useful routine basis such as caring for his personal hygiene, preparing meals, washing dishes, mowing lawn, shoveling snow, grocery shopping, using public transportation, handling finances, watching television, playing games, and performing maintenance work at his apartment building for reduction in rent.  Additionally, claimant enjoyed riding his bicycle and regularly visited library.  Claimant had sporadic work history for multiple employers, had not made significant attempts to return to work, and had not sought or received any vocational or rehabilitative training to assist with his employment.  Consequently, ALJ determined claimant did not demonstrate strong motivation to return to workplace.  Substantial evidence also supported ALJ’s determination to disregard opinions of claimant’s treating social worker and psychiatrist who saw claimant eight times and four times respectively and indicated claimant had marked and extreme functional limitations because of his mental impairments and experienced four or more episodes of decompensation within twelve-month period.  ALJ did not give controlling weight to opinions because treating sources did not have long-term treatment relationships with claimant.  Also, claimant failed to follow treatment recommendations, including staying sober, missed appointments with providers, and admitted he was not taking anti-depressant medication because of his drinking.  Record was devoid of any justified reason for missed appointments.  Giving controlling weight to opinions was unjustified because neither provider had opportunity to assess claimant when he was following prescribed treatment plan, including taking medication and staying sober.  Affirmed.

8th Circuit Case Summaries|ProJusticeMN


May 6-9, 2015, Arlington, VA

October 28-31, 2015, Denver, CO 

MSBA Social Security Disability Law Section
Annual Report
2016 - 2017 

Section Membership
As of June 23, 2017, the Section has 86 members.

Financial Status
The Section had an account balance of $1,557.26 as of May 31, 2017.

CLEs & Events
The Section hosted 5 programs/events in fiscal year 2016-17.   

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

SSA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review – Current Issues and Annual Meeting

May 23, 2017


1.0 Standard


A Look at the Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Health Disorders

March 21, 2017


1.0 Standard


An Analysis of Mental Health Claims

January 17, 2017


1.0 Standard


SSD Law Brown Bag / Roundtable Discussion: MN Statute: Section 144.292 Patients’ Rights and the $10 Medical Records Fee

November 15, 2016




Working with Non-citizens on Social Security Claims

October 18, 2016


1.0 Standard


Annual Meeting and Election Results

The Section’s Annual Meeting was held on May 23, 2017 and 31 people attended. 

The following Officers and Council Members were elected and/or re-elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council starting July 1, 2017:

Co-Chair:  Emily Cooper, Cooper & Reid LLC
Co-Chair:  Sarah Soucie Eyberg
Secretary:  Asha Sharma, Disability Partners
Treasurer:  Tony Mannella, Midwest Disability PA Inc

Council Members:
David Christianson, Christianson Law
Samantha Clawson, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services 
Shelley Jensen, Judicare of Anoka County Inc
Paul McGrath, Disability Partners
Laura Melnick, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services
Gregg Nelson, Nelson Law Office
Michael Persellin, Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance 
Kirk Thompson, Cronan Thompson

Submitted By:

Emily Cooper, Section Co-Chair
Date: July 5, 2017