Jim: Right on now on Triad Today, we have a topic that I think a lot of people are interested in and two gentlemen that are going to help me explore that topic. Lori Bates, our director, I want you to meet our two special guests. Griff Shuler is an attorney with Daggett Shuler and next to him is our good friend David Daggett, attorney also with Daggett Shuler. Welcome, gentlemen, good to see you.
David: Thank you.
Griff: Thank you.
Jim: We’re going to talk about social security disability and some of this is over my head, but I want you to try to work it through for me. Before we get to that, just a basic thing so people know in case they just moved into the area. Give me a couple of seconds on describing your law firm, what you do and who you help?
David: We’re a local Triad law firm. We handle injury and disability cases, a lot of car accidents. Worker’s compensation claims, social security disability, life insurance claims and some other similar sort of cases.
Jim: Now we get into specifically one of those areas, social security disability. Guys, whoever wants to take this first is fine. If you could define social security disability for me, so I know exactly what we’re talking about.
Griff: Jim, social security disability is a program that is a government program. So it’s administered by the Social Security Administration. One of the things that I think is important for people to remember, because social security disability sometimes is something that there is a little bit of a wrong perception about it. People think it’s a welfare.
Jim: Welfare, but it’s not. It’s not a giveaway.
Griff: It’s not. It’s social security disability insurance benefits. So people put into the system.
Jim: Yeah, I’ve already been taxed for that all my life.
Griff: That’s right. So if they’re disabled and they can’t work, they need their social security disability benefits and when it’s denied it’s very frustrating for people.
Jim: Sure. Dave?
David: Jim, you called it a tax. It’s really not a tax, it’s an insurance premium. Just like you pay an insurance premium on life insurance and somebody dies, you expect it to be paid. Your car gets hit; you expect the insurance to pay for it. You’re paying insurance through your FICA line, that’s taken out every paycheck. So social security disability is an insurance program for disability run by the federal government.
Jim: What are some examples of a disability? Give me a couple of examples.
Griff: There’s a lot of things. People that have significant heart problems, that’s obviously a very disabling thing. Often times people that have severe neck or back conditions. One of the things that obviously is a significant issue for folks or folks that struggle with mental and emotional problems that can be very disabling. And those are just a few examples of the type of clients that we’re able to see.
Jim: David, picking up on this thing you said about it being like an insurance policy. That suggests a promise. That suggests a contract. That suggests that the government is supposed to be there for you because you put into it. That being the case, in a perfect world, if you were disabled, you’d file and it would be very easy but it’s not.
David: No, it’s not easy. In fact, recent statistics show that over 70% of people who apply are denied the benefits. There is two things you have to show. Number one you’re insured through the system, which means you’ve worked and paid that FICA. Number two, that you’ve been disabled or projected to be disabled for 12 continuous months or more.
Jim: Yeah, we have about a minute left, and I’m assuming that Daggett Shuler can help me file if I’m in the situation?
Griff: Yes, we can actually help folks that are disabled file their initial application. We do that all the time. We can also help folks if they’re denied in their initial application and take it from there. But our goal is to help folks that need us and are disabled and can’t work and need assistance to get through the system. It’s a very confusing complex system and really getting an attorney as early as possible can be extremely helpful.
Jim: You want to wrap up?
David: Yeah, the social security disability cases many times go to what’s called the hearing, that’s just like a mini-trial. You wouldn’t go to a regular courtroom and a trial without help. You need help in social security disability cases.
Jim: Good point and on that point, go to this website. We have information on the screen. Call 724-1234 and go to the website. It gives you all sorts of great information and advice that will lead you to this and you might want to take a look at the website. Then pick up the phone and call these gentlemen and they will and can help. Griff and David, thank you very much.
David: Thanks very much, Jim.
Jim: Will be right back after this.