Diana Chaikin


Diana Chaikin is a legal editor specializing in disability law at Nolo. She started writing articles as a freelancer in 2021 and joined the staff in 2022. Diana has worked as a solo practitioner based out of Seattle representing claimants before administrative law judges in Social Security disability hearings.

Education. Diana received a B.A. in Political Science from New York University and a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law, where she served as article editor on the Seattle Journal for Social Justice. During law school, Diana interned at the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska and Corbis Corporation. She also wrote an article on the Visual Artists Rights Act and how it pertains to outsider artists.

Disability experience. Fresh out of law school, Diana worked as Attorney Advisor for the Social Security Administration Office of Hearings Operations (formerly Office of Disability Adjudication and Review). While there, she worked for several administrative appeals judges to ensure disability decisions met the administration’s standard for quality. She then decided to work on the other side of the bench, successfully representing disability claimants for over 10 years before coming to Nolo.

Goals and interests. Diana finds satisfaction in making complex areas of the law seem intuitive to nonlawyers. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), and is on the board of the Washington Lawyers for the Arts.

Articles By Diana Chaikin

Disability Benefits for Spinal Fusion or Back Surgery
If you've had a spinal fusion or back surgery but still have significant limitations, you might qualify for Social Security disability.
Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Corticobasal Degeneration?
Corticobasal degeneration that severely affects your movement or mental capacities should qualify you for disability benefits.
Can You Get Disability for Spondylolisthesis, Retrolisthesis, or Laterolisthesis?
Learn how Social Security views disability claims for spondylolisthesis, retrolisthesis, and lateral listhesis and what you can do to increase your chances of qualifying for benefits.
How to Write a Prehearing Brief for Your Disability Appeal
Giving the disability judge a summary of the points you want to make can help your disability appeal.
Can Military Spouses Get Veterans Disability Compensation?
Surviving military spouses can sometimes receive veterans disability compensation from the VA, a monthly benefit called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
What Happens If You Get Denied by the Appeals Council?
If the Appeals Council denies your SSDI or SSI claim for benefits, you have two options.
Getting Social Security Disability Benefits for Conversion Disorder
If your physical symptoms of conversion disorder keep you from working full-time, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Can I Get Disability Benefits After an Other Than Honorable Discharge From the Military?
Your eligibility for service-connected veterans disability compensation benefits and VA health care benefits will vary depending on the type of discharge you received when you left the military.
Mental Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) in a Disability Claim
A mental RFC is used to see if you can perform complex, detailed, or simple tasks.
How to Get Your Doctor's Help to Approve Your Disability Claim
If your doctor is reluctant to help with your claim, you should find out why and address their concerns.