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 Reduced Capacity Caused by Back Problems
If your back problems reduce your capacity to sit, walk, and bend to the point where you can't work, you may qualify for disability.
Can I Get Disability Benefits for My Dyslexia?
Dyslexia alone usually won't qualify for benefits, unless it's accompanied by another disorder.
ALJ Disability Hearing Decisions Explained
Learn about the possible decisions the administrative law judge (ALJ) may make after a Social Security Disability hearing.
Can You Get Disability Benefits for Hepatitis B or C?
If you have greatly reduced liver function as a result of hepatitis B or C, you might qualify for SSDI or SSI.
Getting Social Security Disability for Syringomyelia
When symptoms from syringomyelia affect your ability to perform the physical and mental duties of full-time work, you may qualify for disability.
What to Do if You Get Denied for Social Security Disability
The majority of Social Security Disability claims are denied initially. Understanding why your claim was denied is important in order to strengthen your case on appeal.
Alleged Onset Date (AOD) for Social Security Disability
Your alleged onset date on your Social Security application helps determine if—and when—you'll qualify for benefits.
Proving You Can't Do Your Past Work at a Disability Hearing
You'll have to show that you don't currently have the functional capacity to perform your past work.
How Social Security Decides if You Can Do Past or Other Work
Here's how the Social Security Administration decides that you can't work and should receive disability benefits.
The "Worn-Out Worker" Rule in Social Security Disability Claims
The worn-out worker rule makes it easier for those who've done many years of hard labor to get disability benefits.