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Common Legal Hurdles When Applying for SSD/SSI Benefits

(1326 reviews)

Produced on January 21, 2016

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$ 89 Disability & Social Security Law and Public Interest Law In Stock
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Course Information

Time 95 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

The government has estimated that 35% of individuals who are eligible to collect Social Security Disability Benefits never apply. This program, led by attorney Maryjean Ellis, is designed to reduce that statistic, by helping attorneys identify and learn to overcome common hurdles that keep disabled individuals from applying and persevering through the administrative process until the claim is paid. 


Ms. Ellis introduces the concept of insured status and what can be done when the prospective claimant does not appear to be insured on his or her own record. The Five Step Sequential Evaluation is presented and practitioners will learn the two ways in which claimants can win. Ms. Ellis addresses what is needed to meet or equal the Medical Listings, and how a claim can be won if a Listing is not met or equaled. She then discusses common proof problems in a Social Security Disability claim, including the lack of a supportive treating physician and other “bad facts” such as drug and alcohol abuse. Ms. Ellis looks at Step Four of the Sequential Evaluation and discusses how to bypass that hurdle when a seemingly easy job was performed by the claimant within the past 15 years. Finally, she reviews how a claimant can win at the initial or reconsideration stage at Step Five, by application of the Medical Vocational Grid Rules. 


This introductory course is designed to provide practitioners the knowledge to help claimants apply and overcome common problems that too often derail the Social Security Disability claims of deserving individuals. 


Learning Objectives: 

I.     Recognize that an individual must be insured to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits

II.    Examine other disability programs potentially available to a claimant not insured on his/her own record

III.   Review the basic requirements for obtaining Social Security Disability benefits for an individual: the Five Step Sequential Evaluation

IV.   Explore methods of winning benefits without a treating physician’s support 

V.    Plan to deal with the inevitable bad facts in a claim

VI.   Move past Step Four when your client had an “easy” job in the past 

VII.  Advance through Step Five by applying the Medical-Vocational Guidelines

VIII. Delight your clients by winning claims at the initial and reconsideration levels! 

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Maryjean Ellis

Law Office of Maryjean Ellis, LLC

Maryjean Ellis graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey, in 1996. She is licensed to practice in New Jersey state courts, the Federal District Court of New Jersey, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Maryjean practiced in a variety of settings before 2005, when she established her law office in Northern New Jersey to represent individuals who are unable to work due to illness or injury. She focuses on Social Security Disability/SSI and New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law.

Maryjean is a Sustaining Member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). She participated in the Justice James Coleman Workers’ Compensation Inn of Court and the Arthur T. Vanderbilt Inn of Court. She is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Sussex County Bar Association, where she presented continuing legal education on Public Disability Benefits.

She has offered educational programs concerning Social Security Disability/SSI to the Scleroderma Foundation support group, St. Clare’s Health System Intensive Family Support Services, and the Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain Support Group of Sussex County. Maryjean was appointed to the Sussex County (New Jersey) Mental Health & Substance Use Board, which provides public leadership to the county in the development of mental health and substance use resources.

Maryjean is passionate about advocating on behalf of individuals who are hurting, financially struggling, and in need of medical treatment and other services. She strives to provide Lawline members with the law and practical strategies needed to support the disabled in their communities. 


Robyn B.

Fantastic course for the nuts and bolts on social security

John C.


Danielle F.

Very helpful and informative!

James F.

very useful information in the practice area

Robert Mel G.

all good

Angela R.

interesting course

Jamey B.

Clear and organized presentation.

Paul D.

Detailed and practical guidelines for the handling of disability claims.

Kenneth G.

Excellent comprehensive presentation

Erin M.

Really one of the best CLEs I've seen.

Todd P.

Very complicated subject that the speaker attempted within 1-1/2 hours to introduce. She gave a clear delivery.

Eric C.

I was interested in this because a friend of mine was going through this process. Illuminated what was going on.

Joseph A.

Good review of a meticulous topic.

Paul P.

Thank you.

Robert E.

Whole process of listening and observing was excellent. The presenter is clearly an expert.

Hafez D.

Good program.

Paula G.

Excellent course. Very informative, well-paced, relevant written materials.

Michael H.


Vera M.

I had questions in the beginning and all were answered by the end of the presentation. The powerpoint will be very useful in talking to my neice about her son. The presentation and the materials were very generous.

Deanna M.

Good speaker.

Karlyn S.

I would recommend this CLE for attorneys who are new to SSDI Law

Thomas B.

Very good review.

Julie T.

very substantive. very good.

Rhonda R.

Ms. Ellis is an excellent presenter. I like her demeanor. She is easy to understand and her "hints" are very useful.

Mary B T.

Good talk, VERY useful written materials.

Cynthia K.

Very informative.

Caroline P.

Good info. Hard topic to stay engaged in and she did a good job.

Katherine D.

would be good for all solo practice attorneys to take this course for a framework for SSI.

Benjamin L.

The instructor was very thorough and sincere.

Richard S.

Great piece on the grid rules.


Very good.

Margaret H.

Well done!

Darrell R. J.

Ms. Ellis has provided one of the most informative and useful presentations I have seen. This kind of practical step-by-step approach is invaluable, and she clearly is more than willing to assist fellow lawyers in their endeavors. Please bring her back for additional CLE courses!

Amy F.

Good practical advice

Virginia J.

Very informative

Daniel M.

Nice way to obtain cle

Audrey M.

A lot of this I knew already just from absorbing info from my new job doing SSI work---I wish I had watched it about 3 weeks ago.

James T.

Very good!

Angela A.

The program was very informative and will be very helpful in my practice.

Kathryn P.

Clear and useful written materials are great for future reference.

Michael O.

Great program. Wish it had been longer and more in-depth

Mindy R.

Very informative

Jill S.

Speaker was very good. She was knowledgeable on the topic.

Rosemeri C.



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