Social Security Disability Case Law

Illinois And Nevada Social Security Disability Lawyer

Social Security law falls under the broader area of administrative law. Administrative law is an area of law concerned with the governance of administrative agencies.  In this case, the agency would be the Social Security Administration.  The activities of the Administration with regard to Social Security disability benefits is governed by four distinct areas: regulations, rulings, POMS and HALLEX, and the Dictionary of Titles. Together, these four forms of governance help Social Security come to disability determinations.

Social Security Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains all of the Social Security Administration’s regulations.  The Social Security Act was signed by President Roosevelt in 1935 and gives the Commissioner broad authority to issue regulations.  The CFR, Title 20, Chapter III covers the Social Security Administration and consists of thousands of pages of regulations.  The regulations can be found between Part 400-499 of Chapter III.  For specific questions or information on Social Security regulations, visit the Administration website.

Social Security Rulings

“Social Security Rulings are the SSA’s interpretation of the statutes it administers and its own regulations.” Sobolewski v. Apfel, 985 F. Supp. 300, 316 (E.D.N.Y 1997), citing Quang Van Han v. Bowen, 882 F.2d 1453, 1457 (9th Cir. 1989). The Commissioner has the authority to publish Rulings, which provide the foundation for procedural history to the public.  Rulings are based on case decisions made at all administrative levels of adjudication and Federal court decisions.  They also include Commissioner’s decisions and the opinions of the Office of General Counsel (the office that advises the Commissioner on legal matters).  Rulings become effective when published in the Federal Register. Procedural history and various rulings are more scrutinized when a claimant reaches the Appeals Council and beyond.  If you have applied for disability benefits and have a case pending before the Appeals Council or United States District Court, we highly recommend that you seek out a Nevada or Illinois Social Security disability lawyer in your area.


Both POMS and HALLEX are not published in either the Federal Register or the CFR.  For this reason, the instructions in both the POMS and HALLEX have no absolute binding regulatory effect.

POMS stands for the Social Security Administration’s Programs Operation Manual System.  In other words, POMS provides the Administration and its employees with a daily manual for running the organization.  Since POMS provides guidelines that all Social Security employees should follow, in some circumstances it can act as persuasive authority in court.  However, the manual does not bind Social Security.

Like the POMS, HALLEX is not binding on the Social Security Administration.  HALLEX stands for the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law Manual.  In general, HALLEX contains policy statements and procedures from the Appeals Council to be carried out by the lower levels of the Administration.

Dictionary Of Titles

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) was created by the United States Employment Service to match job seekers with jobs.  The Social Security Administration  uses the DOT to perform a transferable skills analysis with claimants.  The DOT can come into play at steps 4 and 5 of the sequential evaluation process.


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