Cindy: What is Social Security Disability? That’s our question on this episode of Main Street Law. My guest is North Carolina attorney David Daggett, of Daggett Shuler Law. So David thank you for being with us today.
David: Thanks for having me with you Cindy.
Cindy: Well, David, can you explain to us a little bit about what Social Security Disability is?
David: Sure, Cindy. Social Security Disability is an insurance program through the United States Government to cover people if they become disabled from working. It’s just like any other insurance policy. You know the FICA that’s on your paycheck? That is actually an insurance payment to the government, and that’s there to cover you if you become disabled from working. So this is something you pay into over your working career in order to cover you if you become disabled and can’t work any further.
Cindy: David, what are the standards for Social Security Disability?
David: In order to qualify for Social Security Disability you have to be disabled from doing any gainful employment and have a work history of paying the insurance that we discussed into the program. Then you become eligible for Social Security Disability.
Cindy: Well, how do you go about the process?
David: Generally, what an individual has to do is fill out and file a Social Security Disability Application, you can either do that at your local Social Security Office, or the application is now available on line, that you can complete to be submitted. When you complete that application that then begins the Social Security Disability process. This process goes through the government agency, and is processed through the paperwork and through a claims processing system with the government.
Cindy: How long does this usually take?
David: Unfortunately one of the difficulties with Social Security Disability claims is in most parts of the country the Social Security Disability Office is backlogged, sometimes for an extended period of time. This causes quite a bit of a delay for a disabled person, and actually can put them in quite a bind when they’re out of work and can’t return to work, and don’t have any other source of income coming in. The most important thing for an individual to do, is if they believe they are disabled or have an impending disability, is to get that application filed to get the process started.
Cindy: Why should someone hire an attorney in a Social Security Disability case?
David: Hiring a qualified attorney in a Social Security Disability case can help an individual cut through some of the red tape of the process, and an experienced lawyer knows how to work their way through the system a little more quickly, a little more efficiently, and provide the necessary documentation so that the odds of successfully concluding your claim increases.
Cindy: I understand that there are national law firms doing Social Security Disability, and some that advertise on cable TV and that sort of thing. Now let me ask you this, do you feel there’s an advantage to hiring a local attorney rather than a national firm?
David: In North Carolina it’s important to have a local attorney on your Social Security Disability claim for several reasons. First, the North Carolina State Bar has a certification process for experienced Social Security Disability lawyers. This certification process, in which an attorney can become a Board Certified specialist in Social Security Disability, helps for the claimant to know and depend that they are getting an experienced lawyer to help them on their claim. Further, hiring a lawyer who is Board Certified in Social Security Disability in North Carolina also means that you are getting a lawyer who is familiar with the local claims office, the local claims office personnel, has presented cases before these very same administrative law judges perhaps a number of times, and the familiarity with the system again can help an individual both with the efficiency of processing their claim as well as, we believe, enhance the opportunities for having a successful outcome of your Social Security Disability claim.
Cindy: If someone is awarded Social Security Disability Benefits when do those payments begin?
David: If you’re awarded Social Security Disability Benefits typically you are entitled to back benefits back to the date of your disability through the present, and then you have monthly payments that then begin, going on into the future as long as an individual remains disabled.
Cindy: Well David, if someone wants more information how can they reach you?
David: Well, certainly we would be pleased to answer any questions that anybody has regarding Social Security disability claims. They can contact us toll free at 1-800-815-5500, or they can contact us through our web site at www.DaggettShulerLaw.com. We’d be happy to discuss the merits of a case, provide guidance and representation if necessary.
Cindy: David that’s terrific. Thank you so much for your time today.
David: Thank you for having us, we appreciate providing this assistance to people who may need Social Security Disability.
Cindy: You’re welcome. This is Cindy Speaker for State Law TV.