When I first learned that ATLA was in the process of forming a Social Security disability law section, I was very dubious. After all, NOSSCR has had an unparalleled and unbroken record of accomplishments. However, Hank Wansker and his devoted group have proven me wrong. ATLA can help the cause, and is already on the right road.
The key distinction between ATLA and NOSSCR is that all ATLA members are attorneys. ATLA does not need to spend the requisite time reconciling the sometimes differing interests of attorneys and non-attorney reps. In that regard this ATLA section has moved quickly on two different issues. This section has drawn up a Claimant’s Bill of Rights, which helps to protect and shield our clients from the vicissitudes of an often uncaring bureaucracy. Secondly, to insure that our clients understand the qualifications of those seeking to represent them, a program of accrediting representatives practicing in this field is in the works. These are both commendable and necessary programs.
We are faced today with increased funding for a heartless Adjudication Officer program, decreased funding for caring Senior Attorneys, and a renewed effort to remand cases to DDS whenever we submit compelling evidence to the ALJ’s. In this uncertain time, ATLA can and will help us represent the salt of the earth — the working people who so desperately need and deserve our best efforts