Before I worked as a private Social Security Disability (SSD) writer, trainer, and representative, I worked for the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an SSD adjudicator, writer, and trainer. Each of the positions requires an ability to be a high-producer without sacrificing quality work. Those who do well are able to skillfully manage volume-based work while providing a high-quality work product—which is easier said than done. Let’s consider a few ways many producers are able to create and sustain such high-quality work within the Social Security Disability industry.
There are a number of strategies for sustaining quality work, including adding value, being active in the SSD community, providing Social Security Disability training, completing relevant SSD Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, and staying open to constructive feedback. Many Social Security Disability professionals start their work by considering how they can add value for the client or employer because this helps them focus on quality work while handling a large workload.
Engaging in the SSD community, such as participating as a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) or serving as a mentor, keeps many Social Security Disability advocates up to date on new laws, rules, and regulations. Staying informed about new SSD laws ensures many Social Security Disability practitioners will provide a timely, relevant, and legally defensible argument. In fact, over the last few years, many changes have been made to SSD law. Knowing this, I choose to focus my CLEs on Social Security Disability law to ensure my legal arguments are current and legally defensible.
Perhaps the most important aspect of adding value to my own work involves having an open mind when I receive constructive feedback. This allows me to continue growing and improving as an SSD professional. Because everyone works differently, it’s important for you to find which strategies are effective for you and your client—it is key to sustaining quality work.
Many Social Security Disability professionals find the heavy work volume to be quite a challenge. However, certain solutions can keep us going strong, both mentally and physically. Goal setting, accountability, taking care of finances, meeting deadlines, and having grit are all great solutions.
Recently, I learned many high-producers prioritize staying physically and emotionally fit. (Personally, I run through a stretching routine involving my back, neck, and arms because working as a Social Security Disability writer involves a lot of computer work.) High-producers are also good at setting measurable, realistic goals that keep them focused and productive; they establish accountability and seek self-reflection in order to meet these goals. Other producers may ask themselves what their “why” is—“Why am I worked, or for whom do I work (family, claimants, financial reasons)?” This motivation sustains them on days where they need a strong push to keep producing. Many Social Security Disability professionals are motivated by the pressure and challenge to meet a specific deadline. Grit is certainly a driving factor to find the perseverance to keep working hard. It comes in handy on those days when we must simply put our head down and work. Fortunately, there are other days that an interesting case comes in or a client has a motivating story that gets us working harder.
Share below which strategies work great for you and which strategies haven’t helped. Getting clear on how you can sustain the workload within the SSD industry is key to producing a large volume of quality work and career longevity.