On Demand Audio

Understanding Mental Illness and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

(183 reviews)

Produced on July 23, 2020

$ 89 Disability & Social Security, Administrative, and Election Year 2020 In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

This program, taught by Traci Salami, a staff attorney with Mobilization for Justice, Inc.’s Mental Health Law Project, and Ana Lazo, a paralegal with the Government Benefits Project, will review the Mental Impairment Listings under the Social Security Administration. The presenters will discuss the criteria required to meet the listings, including, but not limited to: symptoms, evidence from medical sources, the applicant, schools, vocational programs, and work-related programs. Participants will learn how to use evidence to avoid common pitfalls in claiming SSI benefits for mental illness, identify biases from Administrative Law Judges and other Social Security personnel, and zealously advocate for their clients in SSA hearings.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Determine whether a client meets the mental impairment listings   
  2. Use evidence from various sources to the Mental Impairment Listings
  3. Advocate for clients with mental impairments before the Social Security Administration 

Credit Information

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Traci B. Salami

Mobilization for Justice, Inc.

Ms. Salami received her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 2012, her MSW from the University of Georgia in 2008, and her B.A. in Sociology and American Studies from Stetson University in 2006.  She is a Licensed Master Social Work in the state of New York. Ms. Salami has been staff attorney at the Mental Health Law Project at Mobilization for Justice since December 2015, where she has represented dozens of litigants with psychiatric disabilities in court proceedings and administrative hearings.  Since joining Mobilization for Justice, Ms. Salami has litigated complex landlord-tenant proceedings in New York City and advocated for persons with a mental illness before the Social Security Administration and City Government agencies. Ms. Salami provides trainings on Medicaid Spend-downs, the Use of Pooled Trusts, NYC Housing Law and Eviction Prevention.   Ms. Salami has a particular interest in addressing the unmet need for Wills, Trusts, and Estates work for underserved populations. She has incorporated her expertise in Medicaid Planning, Wills, Trusts, and Estates into her practice within the Mental Health Law project.

Prior to joining Mobilization for Justice, Inc., Ms. Salami was an Associate at Lamson & Cutner, P.C. where she practiced in the area of Elder Law and Estate Planning. At Lamson & Cutner, Ms. Salami participated in all aspects of Medicaid Planning including drafting and filing complex Institutional and Community Medicaid applications, drafting Deeds, Irrevocable Assignments, Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Advanced Directives. 

Ms. Salami serves on the Mental Health Law subcommittee of the New York State Bar Association Elder Law and Special Needs section.

Ana E. Lazo

Mobilization for Justice, Inc.

Ana E. Lazo is a paralegal for the Government Benefits Project (GBP) and Immigration Law Project (ILP) at Mobilization for Justice, Inc. GBP assists individuals with legal problems relating to Public Assistance, SNAP/Food Stamps, Medicaid/Medicare, and Disability Benefits. This assistance includes representing clients in state and federal courts, at administrative hearings, as well as advocating for clients at the applicable government agency. ILP also serves immigrants in various aspects of obtaining appropriate status, including obtaining green cards, adjusting status, and obtaining citizenship. GBP conducts monthly on-site clinics with various community-based organizations. GBP and ILP schedule “know your rights” trainings for the community at large. 

Prior to coming to Mobilization for Justice, Inc., Ms. Lazo was an Administrator at Partnership for Children’s Rights (PFCR), where she assisted attorneys and clients with impartial hearings against the Department of Education (DOE), resolution sessions, and IEP meetings. PFCR provided free legal representation low-income New Yorkers primarily in the areas of special education and Social Security Disability benefits. Ms. Lazo received her Law Degree from Universidad del Norte in Colombia and an LLM Degree from Brooklyn Law School.


Leslie W.

extremely practical/helpful in understanding how the law works in practice in the area of SSI for the mentally ill.

Pamela K.

Had problems understanding Ana Lazo, paralegal, co-presenter

Charles S.

This is very useful.

Erin B.

Very helpful! Thank you:)

John J.

I am new to this area, and found this very informative.

Virginia E.

The course provided basic and helpful information in a clear manner.

Diana L.

Very complete in its content.

Robert M.

Great practical advice on what ALJs will look for.

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