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Social Security Disability 2017: From Administrative Proceedings to Federal Practice


Speaker(s): Anna Vaysleyb, Bradley E. Honigman, Carol Santangelo, Jocelyne Martinez, Karen A. Hambrick, Marie I. Mombrun, Steven Godeski
Recorded on: Mar. 17, 2017
PLI Program #: 185658

Anna Vaysleyb is a senior Paralegal/Case handler in the Disability Advocacy Program of the Legal Aid Society – Civil Practice.  She has been with Legal Aid since 1995.  In 1991, as an immigrant herself, Anna volunteered with State Senator Donald Halperin in Brooklyn, New York.  She assisted new immigrants with translation, obtaining necessary Social Services and finding relevant programs.  During the peak of Russian immigration from the former Soviet Union in 1992, she worked for the Shorefront YMCA Community Center of Manhattan Beach as a Coordinator for the Leadership Forum.  There, she provided a variety of services to new immigrants. In 1993, Anna was hired by South Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. B to assist attorneys in all practice areas including housing, public assistance, consumer’s law benefits, as well as translation for non-English speaking clients. In 1994, Anna worked as a bilingual Paralegal for South Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. B.  In 1995, she began her 21 year tenure with The Legal Aid Society. 

In her capacity with The Legal Aid Society, Anna represents individuals with severe mental and physical illnesses through all levels of the Social Security administrative appeals process.  In her capacity as a Paralegal/Casehandler, Anna has represented hundreds of Social Security and Supplemental Security Disability clients. She has an overwhelming record of fully favorable decisions and has won most of her cases on the strength of her written pre-hearing arguments.  

Anna participates in outreach to community-based organizations, such as community colleges, hospitals, community centers, including speaking engagements addressing the right to apply and obtain disability benefits under the disability laws.  She dedicates time to assist pro bono attorneys, when needed. She helps these private attorneys obtain medical documentation, contact clients and hearing preparation.  

Anna is a graduate of Polytechnic Institute of Kishinev, Moldova, where she earned her degree in Urban Planning and Economics.  She had a successful career working as an Economist for 14 years in the Ministry of Urban Planning for the Republic of Moldova until 1991 when she left the former Soviet Union.


Bradley E. Honigman is a litigation associate at the New York office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  He is also a former law clerk to The Honorable Carlos T. Bea of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a former litigation associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.  Since being admitted to the bar in 2013, he has dedicated more than 300 hours to pro bono work, including representing numerous applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.  As a litigator, he represents clients in state court, federal district court, federal bankruptcy court, and arbitration.

Bradley graduated first in class from The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson, Arizona in 2012. In law school, he assisted indigent individuals through the Arizona Justice Project and the Civil Rights Restoration Clinic.  He also served as Managing Editor of the Arizona Law Review.  Prior to his career in law, Bradley studied psychology at The George Washington University and attended medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine (2007-2008).  He resides in New York City with his wife and son.


Karen Hambrick is a Supervising Attorney for the Government Benefits unit in the Harlem Community Law Office.  In her current position, Karen supervises both attorneys and case handling paralegals who assist and represent clients for public benefits and disability benefits, Single Stop Program and Pinnacle implementation.

Karen worked with the Society since 1987.  For eight years she was a generalist in the LAS Rockaway Office.  As a generalist, she worked on housing, family, benefits, consumer and bankruptcy cases and with the families living in the homeless shelters in the Rockaways.  In 1999, she transitioned to supervising attorney in the Harlem Neighborhood Office, which is now the Harlem Community Law Office.

Karen received her BA and MA from SUNY @ Albany and her law degree from American University, Washington College of Law.


Carol Santangelo is a Supervising Attorney at The Legal Aid Society, overseeing a city-wide initiative to assist public assistance beneficiaries in accessing federal disability benefits. Before that, Carol was a Staff Attorney in The Legal Aid Society’s Health Law Unit, during which time she was is a steering committee member of the Coalition to Protect the Rights of New York's Dually Eligible, an active member of the Medicaid Matters New York Managed Care Workgroup and the Public Program Workgroup, and was co-chair of the New York State Health Law Taskforce. Carol is a member of  New York City Bar Association’s Mental Health Law Committee; she holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing and a Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Humanities.


Jocelyne Martinez is a Supervising Attorney for the Government Benefits unit in the Brooklyn Neighborhood Office of The Legal Aid Society's Civil Practice.  Ms. Martinez is co-coordinator of the Society's city-wide disability law practice.  In her current position, Ms. Martinez supervises both attorneys and case handling paralegals that assist and represent clients with issues regarding the improper application of the regulations relating to the application, continuance and/or termination of their public assistance benefits and disability benefits.  Ms. Martinez has been in the Society since 1990 and was a staff attorney in the Housing, Benefits, Consumer Law and Family Law units.  Ms. Martinez graduated from St. John's University and Georgetown Law Center.


Marie Mombrun is a staff attorney in the Disability Advocacy Program of The Legal Aid Society.  Since 2002, Marie has represented disabled claimants in administrative proceedings and affirmative litigation.  She engages in community outreach and education to individuals, local community-based organizations, education and disability advocates and pro bono lawyers.  In 2012, Marie’s practice expanded to include advocacy for disabled children in administrative hearings and proceedings at the New York City Department of Education. She counsel clients on Education Law and represents parents of disabled children at special education committee meetings, resolution conferences and hearings. Prior to joining the Disability Advocacy Program, Marie represented tenants in various stages of housing litigation in New York City.  Marie is a graduate of Rutgers University Newark School of Law and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University.


Steven Godeski has been at The Legal Aid Society since 1986 in the Bronx Neighborhood Office specializing in the area of public benefits.   Mr. Godeski taught as an adjunct professor in the City University of New York Law School during 1997-1998.  He graduated from City University of New York Law School.