Areas of Practice
- Social Security Disability Law
Ms. Davidson is a native of the Middle Georgia area. She grew up just down the road in nearby Cochran, Georgia and has been a member of Congregation Sha’arey Israel Synagogue here in Macon since age 6. Shelley is currently serving her fourth term as President of the Congregation. She is also the current president of Federation of Jewish Charities of Macon and Middle Georgia.
Shelley is a past president of the Macon Chapter of Hadassah and she participated in Leadership Macon (class of 1995). She is very active in the Georgia Bar, having helped to co-chair the annual Social Security program with Rudolph Patterson for many years before taking over as Chairperson of the program.
In addition, Shelley has been a guest lecturer at multiple programs — including events sponsored by the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), Georgia Legal Services Corporation, Florida Bar and the Alabama Bar. She is a past president of NOSSCR and is currently serving on the Council of Past Presidents.
Social Security disability law is so different from other areas of law. There is no other person on the other side; it’s a big government conglomerate that you’re looking at. So I feel like I’m helping the little person. And when I help them get benefits, I help them to get places to live, food to eat, and medical attention.
- Georgia, 1982
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia, 1982
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia, 1987
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia, 1987
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1982
- Georgia Court of Appeals, 1982
- Supreme Court of Georgia, 1982
- U.S. Supreme Court, 2001
- Mercer University, Walter F. George School of Law, Macon, Georgia
- J.D. – 1982
- University of Georgia
- A.B. magna cum laude – 1978
- Middle Georgia College
- A.S. – 1977
- Honors: With Honors
- Lectured at numerous National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives (NOSSCR) events and Georgia ICLE of the State Bar
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Macon Bar Association
- State Bar of Georgia
- National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives, Member, Executive Board, President (1996–1997), Member council of Past Presidents (1997–Present)
- Phi Delta Phi
- Phi Beta Kappa
Social Security Disability FAQs
What is Social Security disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance, commonly abbreviated as SSD or SSDI, is a federal government insurance program paid for by payroll taxes and run by the Social Security Administration. Its purpose is to provide financial help (benefits) to individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability.
SSD benefits may be given on a temporary basis or permanently, depending on whether the person’s disability is treatable over time or they will live with it for the rest of their life.
Am I eligible for SSD benefits in Georgia?
If you have paid into Social Security and you suffer an injury, impairment or illness that leaves you unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The Social Security Administration defines a “disability” as an impairment that arises from a serious medical condition that has been diagnosed by an approved doctor and is expected to last for at least 1 year or longer, possible until death. To be eligible for benefits, the SSA must determine that you are unable to adjust to other types of work due to your disability.
Disability claims are determined on a case-by-case basis, which is why you ultimately need to consult an experienced attorney to review your case and find out if you are eligible for benefits — and if so, how much.
What types of disability benefits can I receive?
It depends on how your type of disability, as well as its severity and how long you’ve paid into the Social Security system. Generally speaking, the Social Security Administration runs to separate programs that pay out benefits to disabled individuals who qualify:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD). SSDI benefits are paid out of the Social Security fund, and eligible applicants must meet a work history requirement. Unlike SSI, however, SSDI doesn’t depend on the income of the disabled individual receiving it — meaning a person of any income level can receive SSD benefits as long as they are living with a legitimate disability.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI benefits are not paid out of the Social security fund. Rather, this is an income-based program that is paid via the general tax fund. There is no work history requirement to receive SSI benefits because the general purpose of this program is to provide benefits to disabled adults and children with limited means. In order to receive SSI benefits, you must earn an amount that is below the set income level.
How can a Social Security attorney help?
First-time Social Security disability applicants face tough odds. Many are denied, often due to a simple misunderstanding or for submitting the wrong paperwork at the wrong time. While some people choose to navigate this complex process by themselves, statistics show that consulting experienced Macon Social Security lawyer Shelley Davidson will significantly help improve your case for benefits.
If you’re applying for disability benefits for the first time, Shelley can make sure your claim is properly filed and managed, helping you avoid the stressful and complicated appeals process. If your claim was denied, she can help you appeal the decision and secure your benefits.
When should I contact a Social Security lawyer?
When it comes to applying for Social Security disability benefits, the best rule of thumb for when to reach out to a knowledgeable attorney is “the earlier, the better.” Most lawyers offer free consultations, so it won’t cost you a penny to find out the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, as well as help you file your initial application.