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JOY BLOG
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  • Writer's pictureStephanie O. Joy, Esq.

The Story Behind The Little YouTube Channel "All Things Social Security"

Updated: Jun 28



I was recently asked how I came to be sharing rather unorthodox Social Security related videos on YouTube (and Rumble). (https://www.youtube.com/@AllThingsSocialSecurity) Having only been doing so for a year to two, and it being a very casual, quick, off the cuff, au naturale type video share, a few minutes a day for a few days a week, I had to think back to the How I came to do this quirky little thing during my otherwise overly busy work weeks. So here it is for anyone who cares for such trivia.

Old Dog

I have been a federal Social Security Disability (SSD) attorney since early 2005. And a solo practitioner of same. Prior to that, I was solo in general New Jersey state practice, (criminal defense, negligence, family law/divorce, traffic/DUI) and prior to that, a young associate at two small firms doing New Jersey state litigation and trial work in areas unrelated to Social Security.


I started down the SSD/SSI road when there were relatively few out there - or at least no way to find them - and, frankly, prior to doing so, I didn't even know it was a field of practice. I know I stepped in "it", in 2005, and I am eternally grateful. Someone was looking out for me, as I was not enjoying state law, although going solo was a great improvement in both income and satisfaction.



At that time, the learning of the What's of the area of SSD law and the How's of a viable SSD practice was difficult because there were, generally, no law school courses, or even CLEs in this field. I had the interesting experience of learning both the law and the building of a solo SSD/SSI practice, grass-roots style, through a mish-mash of research via both legal and layperson training material. Throw in a then-unsaturated Google Ad Words scenario, and I was in the right time at the right place with the blessing of a ton of perseverance.


Shortly after starting in the SSD field, I invested in some treatise books from one or two of the few well-knowns (in the field), which also provided great information on top of my own research. I developed my claim development practices and processes as I deemed fit and they have been evolving ever since, as needed, and with the times. The practice went from zero to viable and life-sustaining over the years of hard work, for sure. I should add that the SSA itself evolved - we went from paper files, trekking to field offices to copy a new client's existing SSA file, to the Electronic Records Express (ERE) and such.


CoVid and One Silver Lining

Flash forward to CoVid-19 in 2020. There was some lengthy down-time in terms of in-person Hearings not happening, and many hearings being delayed. New clients, initial and reconsideration work, and maintaining the water-treading on the stalled Hearing level cases continued, but there was a notable difference. Never one of an idle mind nor idle hands, I used the differing practice schedule to explored options for an even better practice ahead.


Zoom in... ZOOM. I was introduced to ZOOM, the video meeting platform, in early 2021. At that time a small portion of colleagues in the Social Security Disability Linked-In group I manage (it is a large group, about 3400 SSD field professionals, including ALJs, field office staff, DDS staff, vocational experts, and attorney and non-attorney representative) expressed interest in a more personal sharing of our field discussions on LinkedIn. So I started with the affordable Zoom platform, for what became monthly, small zoom 'round-tables' for colleagues to hash out SSD/SSI issues, practice strategies and goings on. It started about 3 1/2 years ago at the time of this writing. Also at that time, Zoom also seemed like a great way to get face-to-face with clients, for a better client experience, a more personal trusting experience with their attorney. It seemed a particularly timely option given CoVid governmental isolation/lockdowns, etc. I knew that robust client communication was largely unheard of in the legal profession generally, and the SSD field had proven no different among most practices. One of my original practice policies that had differentiated my then-15 year-old SSD practice from so many others for many years (and still), was the robustly available communication clients were offered to interact with their attorney - thanks in large part to a great client/case management web-based software I'd implemented around 2011. So, in 2021, I also decided to use Zoom for live video meet-ups with clients who chose it for our interactions.


So how did video shares on YouTube come into play??


After becoming more familiar with the platform, I then foresaw a Zoom Recording use for my clients. As one of the less common lawyers that frequently interact with their clients themselves, I realized how much time I take away from actual case work by repeating concepts, directions, etc., to my clients that need repetition. It an be pretty intense when you have disabled clients and many have memory issues. The desire for robust client/attorney communication had long since required many evenings and weekends to complete actual case work, due to spending significant weekday hours in client communications. I had needed a clone for years, but never found one.

Cure the Repetition Disease Many clients are not comfortable, or simply don't prefer, to read their directions or explanations; many need verbal explanations, due to memory issues. Many have difficulty absorbing our written directions and so I'd need to verbalize, often repeatedly. Other clients simply wanted to know more about the How's of claim work, a mini CLE at various times on various issues, and while explaining or teaching SSD law and practice is not part of the legal service I offer, I do try to accommodate within reason, and saying "NO" can be hard to do. (I am getting better at it though.)


So, repetition from me came in different ways: The same person may ask the same question 3 times, requiring polite re-explanation multiple times. Some questions were asked once by nearly EVERY client. It finally got through my thick skull - the epiphany of possibly having and sharing a video explanation to them when they sought information, explanation or repeated directions. The goal was largely so those with memory or absorbtion difficulties didn't have to worry as much about struggling to read, listen-live, and retain on the spot. Their own attorney, in video, explaining what they need to know or asked to learn. (This does not replace attorney/client live workshops on various case needs.)


So, I tried it - I made some videos for my clients of what they wanted or needed to know to serve themselves better in the SSD/SSI process. Clients only. I saved the video to use again for the same purpose.


The videos were housed at home, hard drive/cloud, and uploaded to the client/case portal we utilize for them to download and watch/llisten. However, the next problem was that some clients could not download them - I think it had to do with various storage limitations or other device or software limitations amongst the clients. (I am not techy enough to figure it out). To remedy that issue, I moved the videos to the Rumble video platform (the rebel in me, perhaps), so they could click and watch without downloading. Many folks were unfamiliar with Rumble, and Rumble lacked some ease that YouTube had already mastered. I learned that YouTube would sync Rumble videos to its platform, so that cured the Rumble unfamiliarity issue. I could send them the YouTube link instead. Exploring YouTube a bit, I then earned it had some features in uploading and storing videos that would be helpful and make the process quicker, with more options. So eventually, in late 2022 or early 2023(?) I started to upload the videos that cropped up to YouTube, and let YouTube sync to Rumble. (I think they still sync to Rumble). These early videos for my clients included series-type video explanations of client needed info, like the individual Function Report videos that are short enough for just one Function Report question at a time. Out of need and preference, short enough to not impede my client/case work day, and to not overwhelm a viewer by duration. The resulting extensive time saving was immediate. The video explanation to someone about how to think about Question #5 and what not to forget when answering, was now available without me having to run out of breath explaining over and over again. I share the Function Report playlist to every client when I provide them the Activities data form they need to fill out and ask them to review the playlist before the answer the questions. My more diligent clients watch those and have a much stronger final Function Report as a result. Which fact then led me to... Sharing to Others I decided that since they help my clients provide much better data, for the betterment of their claim strenth, there are many pro se claimants who could probably learn a bit as well. I'd already been receiving fairly frequent phone calls from non-clients hoping for help on a function report they were trying to complete, for many years. (Between Google, Avvo and a few others, I had been easily viewable in internet searches for quite a long time). I'd generally not be able to assist due to lack of time - as my clients are priority. But with these videos already being made, a now large handful of video guidance on specifics that had been planned, why not let the public have access so any pro se who wanted, could view also? The limited planned directional videos then morphed. Because I am in the office nearly 7 days a week with issues abounding multiple times a week or even in a day, I thought, perhaps someone would like to know how we navigated this problem just now, or how to avoid XY or Z hurdle that I just saw impede a claimant that contacted me for representation. I thought, certainly others who are self representing can use a little help even if I cannot represent them at this time (or they don't wish for representation). So, those kinds of videos, usually under 10 minutes, sometimes more, come from real life, every day issues. Sometimes in my own work day, and sometimes I get a request to put out a short video share on some topic. So, I do.

I share goings on in the SSD practice workplace - issues as they crop up in my crazy workday; or an issue shared to me by a colleague or a viewer. Some are mere sharing of information, a few are a SSD vents, many are directionals, and some are shares of SSD fraud cases. Some people love 'em, some don't prefer. All Good. My father did always remind me that you cannot please all of the people all of the time, so don't take it personally. To each his or her own, and we can all TURN THE CHANNEL if we choose.

For consideration for Attorney SSD/SSI representation in an upcoming or pending SSDI/SSI disability claim, please fill out our free Attorney Evaluation form. We do NOT charge a retainer to serve you.If, on the other hand, you only seek an attorney level consultation/analysis of a particular situation, whether you are a company or an individual, or to discuss your own situation without representation, to learn information beyond that information you may obtain for free from the SSA itself, and you do not otherwise have a lawyer representing your before the SSA, you may order a scheduled consultation at affordable attorney rates. Contact the office at 201-317-0610 or email stephaniejoy@joydisability.com.

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