What is Social Security Disability? Answers from Attorney Jake Lee
(Tammy) “I went to answer a phone and they had a plastic runner that part was tacked down and part wasn’t. I got my knee caught in there and before I could get it unhooked I came down and it shattered it. At that point life started changing, my life consisted of being restricted. The hardest one that has happened is when the 3 oldest grandkids were born, I could still do everything with them, I watched them, it didn’t slow me down just because of my leg. When Dr. Metcalf said the shoulder is where it’s at, it’s not coming back, it was like at that point when it hit me. Never before would I have ever claimed or said that I was disabled. Because I didn’t feel that... there were so many other people out there that needed it worse than I did. I guess talking to my family and my friends, they made me believe that I was not going to be less than if I admitted it. I went and filed for disability. It has changed my life already. In two months it has already made it so much easier. It may not be that you’ve lost a leg or an arm. It may be that you’ve got something going on inside. They’ll tell you whether you’ve even got any chance or not.”
(Reporter) Jake Lee is here with us from Summit Disability Law, Jake we just watched that video about Tammy. Tell us a little bit about her.
(Jake) Well you know, she is exactly the type of person I want to talk about today. It’s the faces behind the people who get these benefits. There’s this horrible stigma out there that the only people that get these are the people who are looking for a handout. Those who can’t or won’t take care of themselves and the fact is that is just not true. These people are the people who are working hard they’ve worked their whole lives and paid into the system, they’ve paid taxes in order to be able to get these benefits. So, we’re just trying to dispel the myth around the people who get these benefits.
(reporter) Well in many cases like Tammy’s, it changes their life.
(Jake) It does change their life, and Tammy kind of eludes to this ya know. She was in a situation where she had lost her leg, but not everybody is like that. There is a whole bunch of other things that can qualify. Things we see all of the time are epilepsy, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, spinal degeneration problems, knee problems. It’s really anything that is going to keep you out of work for 12 months or more.
(Reporter) Ok, that’s great to know. So, how do people get more information? You’re holding a book here that has a lot of great insights in it. Hold that up so people can see what that is. Tell us a little bit about that.
(Jake) So this is my book, it’s called, “The Utah Disability Handbook” and it’s designed to help people understand the process, what they’re going to have to prove, and where they can go to get help.
(Reporter) You basically have done all the research so people don’t have to.
(Jake) That’s the whole idea.
(Reporter) So they can go here and you’re a great resource of information to find out where they can get help, how they can get help, for how long they can get help. Is it something that if people sign up for it’s a lifelong thing.
(Jake) It can be. There is a lot of confusion out there about this and one of the things, one of my goals here today is to help people who think that their condition may not qualify. What I want to say to them is that people are embarrassed sometimes to ask for help. They feel like, “ugh, this is a government program, that’s not for me.” but if you have a medical condition that has kept you out work for 12 months or more and you’ve worked your whole life. This is the program for you. This is not any kind of handout. It’s something that they’ve earned.
(Reporter) Ok, now talk about the process, is it difficult? (Jake) It is difficult. In fact, you’re going to be denied a few times before you really get a chance.
(Jake) That’s right, and you’re going to fill out a whole bunch of really confusing paperwork but as you go through that process and you stick with it that’s when you are going to have the best chance to get the benefits.
(Reporter) OK and we’re watching some video of you right now, hard at work helping people. So, you do this day in and day out, so you know how to help people. You know this information.
(Jake) That’s right, this is what we do day in and day out. One of the things we tell people when they are looking for an attorney to help them with this situation, they want to look for somebody who does this, it’s not just one of many practice areas that they do but it’s something they do all day long.
(Reporter) OK and we also have a phone number up on screen, so if you guys want more information call the number up on the screen. 801-513-1883. Tell them where they can get more information on the website.
(Jake) Like I said, they can go to utahdisabilitybook.com and our book is free to the public.
(Reporter) OK, Jake thanks for being here. You’re helping a lot of great people.
(Jake) We love what we do