Helping people navigate the Social Security disability system
PO Box 5746 Winston Salem, NC 27113-5746
Phone 336 995 5746 · 866 807 5835 · Fax 336 499 1147
Woman Owned and Operated
25 Years Experience
“Cracks in the System” by Ginny Campbell © 2009
This glass and wood assemblage depicts one person’s journey though a disability appeal process. But the story starts long before that. Able-bodied people do not simply decide one day to become ‘disabled’. Many who are healthy enough to work do not realize this could change. People with health limitations often give up everything else in their lives before they stop working. The journey from health to disability can be a slow, day-by-day process that saps a person’s vitality and robs them of what makes life worth living, including employment.
At this stage, a person applies for disability benefits. Some find the process confusing and give up. Many are denied and do not file an appeal. Most don’t know how important it is to keep going. As I see it, my job as a claimant’s Representative is to explain the process, provide reassurance, encourage people to persist, and try to obtain benefits for them. My job is to convey the medical, vocational and legal aspects of a claim while also communicating the human aspect: the story of a person’s journey from health to disability.
The person applying for benefits is depicted by a single crack in the clear glass that overlays the colored glass. This starts in the teal area, doubles back over the center and heads to the orange. This conveys the long winding path a person takes as they move through the appeal process. The vulnerability of the individual is meant to be viewed in contrast to the organized cohesion of the colored glass disability ‘system’.
The rest of the piece depicts a bureaucratic system. I used a window frame since rules that govern claims are called a ‘framework for decision-making’. I used glass as it is weighty, transparent, fragile and unyielding, like the disability process. I used colored and textured glass to symbolize the unique aspects of each case. No two cases have ever been the same. Letters and numbers on the glass are like those used to identify the rules.
But client stories aren’t the only ones I’ve listened to. Those who work within the system have opinions about it. The small central shards of color depict decision makers, support staff and claimant’s representatives. The shards are hemmed in by the dense, outer blocks. Their movements seem random- not synchronous. The glass is broken, as the system can sometimes seem. As light moves through the piece it constantly changes. The people in the system also change, as the system itself continues to adapt and change through the years.
The piece is interactive. If you stand close, when sunlight streams through it bands of color wash over you. So do I share each person’s life journey during the months I help them with a disability claim. Their stories, pain, humanity and transcendence have washed over me and colored my perspective and my own life. And I thank them for it.
Artwork and content copyright protected. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of the artist.
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Virginia B Campbell is a professional non-attorney Claimant’s Representative who’s helped people with Social Security disability appeals for twenty-five years. She passed Social Security’s examination for non-attorneys with a near-perfect score. She’s passed a criminal background check, meets continuing education requirements, and remains in good standing with the Social Security Administration as a non-attorney Representative.
"Qualified, Tested, and Working for You"
Ms Campbell is an Accredited Disability Representative of the National Association of Disability Representatives (ADR). She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in North Carolina. She’s a Board-Certified Art Therapist of the American Art Therapy Association (ATR-BC). She worked as a mental health therapist for ten years, and also worked in the Vocational Rehabilitation field. She serves on the Forsyth County Community Resource Connections Council FC-CRC. Campbell Disability Center is a Community Partner of The Adaptables, Center for Independent Living.
Hiring a representative to help you with your disability claim is an important decision and you should choose carefully. Ms Campbell works directly with her clients. You’ll always talk to her, not an assistant. She returns phone calls promptly and answers your questions completely. She spends time explaining what you need to know about your claim. She knows your disability claim is important, and treats it that way. She offers one day turn-around time on filing most appeals. If your appeal will take longer, she’ll explain why. There’s no fee unless you win your claim. The fee is set and controlled by Social Security. There are no up-front costs. Any costs are kept to a minimum and discussed with you beforehand. There is no charge to discuss your case with Ms Campbell, and you don’t have to travel to an office just to sign paperwork. Call to see if she’s the right representative for you.
“Our son was denied when he applied for disability. We talked to lawyers who wouldn’t take his case because of his age and they believed the case wouldn’t be easy to win. Ms. Campbell was very helpful in showing us how to navigate the system. I don’t think we would have won his case if it hadn’t been for her guidance through the entire process.”
—Rodney, Donna and Corbin Fleshman, Pilot Mountain, NC
“The work Ms Campbell does is so valuable. I find the disability system complicated and beyond the average person's comprehension. To have her help you is wonderful.”
—Sarah Potter, Winston Salem, NC
“I found Ms Campbell to be a very caring person. She seems able to put herself into your shoes and feel as well as hear what you’re saying. With the work ethic and integrity she brings to the table, I’m sure Ms Campbell would do all she could to assist you.”
—L. P. Victory, Kernersville, NC
“Words cannot express how grateful I am to have had Ms Campbell working on my case. Applying for Social Security disability was an extremely overwhelming process, but Ms. Campbell was there for me every step of the way. She answered all my questions with patience and returned my calls promptly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
—Denise Shaw, Winston-Salem, NC
“Applying for Social Security disability benefits is an overwhelming task. For years my daughter tried to get benefits, not knowing there were advocates who’d come along side her on this journey. When we spoke to Ms Campbell she listened and told us what to expect. Although she has multiple cases she’s working on simultaneously, when she talks with you, you are the only case she has at that moment.”
—Catherine and Charlotte Symes, Mt Airy, NC