Why do I practice Social Security disability law?
I became an attorney in 2001 and my entire legal career has been devoted to working on behalf of people with disabilities. Ninety percent of my practice has been representing people who are applying for Social Security disability benefits – SSDI (Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance) and SSI (Social Security Supplemental Income).
When I first began working with clients it became obvious that the system was geared to make people give up. There were endless demands for paperwork and long waiting periods while it seemed like nothing was happening. Letters from Social Security were very hard to understand and often had conflicting statements in the same letter. One client of mine received a letter informing her that she was dead. The system was most difficult for people with behavioral health or developmental disabilities.
The first thing I realized I had to do was unlearn attorney-speak, as I was taught to do in law school. If people couldn’t understand the Social Security letters, what good would it do if they couldn’t understand what I was saying either?
My goal to make everything easy as possible to understand and to break down what needed to get done into small steps that are accomplished one by one.
If you are one of my many successful clients, my assistance doesn’t end when you are awarded your benefits. I continue to work on your behalf to make sure that you are paid the correct amount of retroactive benefits and you (and possibly your minor children) are in pay status for your monthly benefits. I also advise you regarding your work earnings and reporting responsibilities to Social Security if and when you are capable of returning to work.
Empire College School of Law, Santa Rosa CA, Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, 2001
Admitted to the California State Bar, 2001
Staff Attorney, Disability Services & Legal Center, Santa Rosa CA 2001-2009
Partner, Law Offices of Lander & Shaw, 2009-2015
Sole Practitioner, Steven Shaw Law Offices, 2015-present