Important Notice: New SSA Program “Supported Employment Demonstration” (SED)

SSA is now testing how to encourage claimants to choose to return to work before decisions are made on their cases. SSA has decided not to inform attorneys but rather to contact the attorneys’ clients directly. The name of the program is Supported Employment Demonstration (SED) and is operating in Florida. It targets younger claimants from ages 18-50, who allege mental impairments and who already received an initial denial.

Because the demonstration program intends to by-pass the attorneys who legally represent the claimant on their disability applications by contacting the claimants directly, it appears to conflict with the Social Security Regulations that give claimants the right to be represented by an attorney or an approved rep throughout the disability claim process. (See 20 CFR 404.1700-1715). The goal of the program is to determine whether SSA can successfully prevent claimants from obtaining disability benefits.

If you are contacted by Social Security or “Westat”, please advise them that you have an attorney who is helping you obtain disability benefits. Furthermore, if your physician or ARPN (nurse) has stated that you should not return to work because of your disability, advise the caller that you decided to follow the advice of your doctor or nurse.

Less than 1% of Florida attorneys are Board Cerified and fewer are Board Certified in Social Security Disability. In addition to Avard Law Offices having four Board Certified Social Security Disability attorneys, certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Avard Law is one of several Florida Social Security law offices that has a disability advocate (Denys Beecher). He underwent rigorous testing and background checks; he was also certified by the US government to meet the requirements under the Social Security Disability Applicants’ Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010, Public Law No. 111-142.

Section 206(e) of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 406(e)] sets forth prerequisites that non-attorney representatives must satisfy — they must possess a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualifications, pass a written examination administered by the Social Security Administration, undergo a criminal background check, and complete continuing education courses. The attorneys of Avard Law Offices are proud to be working with a talented professional.

There are several kinds of disability benefits for which a person may be eligible. The medical rules are the same for each program. You must be found disabled as defined by Social Security regulations.

The five main programs are:

  • Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Child’s Disability Benefits (CDB)
  • Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits (DWB)
  • Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)