Cornell University

June 14 2013

Helping People With Disabilities

Employment & Disability Institute work lauded by national group

Ray CebulaRaymond Cebula III and Edwin Lopez-Soto have been chosen for a first-place Eileen P. Sweeney Distinguished Service Award for their work with ILR's Employment & Disability Institute.

The award will be presented in October in San Diego during an annual conference of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives.

Established in 1979, the organization is a professional association of more than 4,000 attorneys and advocates who help people with disabilities obtain Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Most of the work by Cebula and Lopez-Soto, both attorneys, has been dedicated to assisting Social Security claimants, either by training others to represent claimants, or through litigation or policy work.

"They both have devoted their lives to working on behalf of vulnerable populations," according to their nomination.

"They have worked tirelessly at the local and state levels training advocates, and have been involved in significant systems change litigation and advocacy efforts to improve the disability system," it said.

As a team, Cebula and Lopez-Soto taught advocates the convoluted ins and outs of the Social Security Work Incentive rules and of Social Security law, according to the nomination.

Lopez-Soto left Cornell in September to work as chief counsel for the Rochester City School District.

At the Employment & Disability Institute, Cebula continues to prepare attorneys and lay advocates to help claimants preserve and maximize disability benefits.