Houston Social Security Disability Lawyer
Disability Attorney Greg Degeyter hails from the Beaumont oil-refinery region of southeast Texas and he knows the importance of disability benefits for families of injured workers. Having a disabled father, Degeyter has seen the trauma of lost income caused by serious workplace injuries and he knows the difficulties that people have when dealing with complex Social Security laws.
At the Makris Law Firm, Degeyter focuses his practice solely on representing ill and injured people seeking disability relief. He combines an acute understanding of their situation with a technical background that few other disability lawyers have.
“One of the things that makes me different from most other Social Security attorneys is that, for me, law was a career change,” Degeyter said. “Before that, I was a meteorologist and my scientific training makes me very comfortable with the science aspect of disabilities.”
Degeyter’s scientific background includes a graduate degree in geosciences, lab work with the Environmental Protection Agency and an adjunct professorship with Lamar University’s Department of Earth and Space Science.
“The science” is usually a big part of a Social Security case that goes before an administrative law judge. Typically, vocational experts testify as to the presence of jobs available to clients based on restrictions placed by the judges. Degeyter is able to support the addition of further restrictions with his own scientific knowledge. That can make the difference between winning and losing a client’s case before the administrative law judges that evaluate Social Security claims.
“If I see something and I think, ‘That just doesn’t make sense,’ or it doesn’t pass the ‘sniff test,’ I’ve got no problems going and doing medical research and finding medical-journal articles to submit to support a claim,” he said.
From Meteorologist Training To Law School
Since childhood, Degeyter had dreamed of being a television meteorologist. However, while working at the EPA in 2001, he was injured in a car accident and had to stop working for seven months. When he returned to the work force, he took a job troubleshooting computers for an international company, Service Zone. Degeyter’s supervisor was an attorney who suggested to Degeyter that he had the makings of a good lawyer and urged him to take the LSAT, a test required for admission to most law schools. Degeyter said he took the LSAT “just to humor him,” did well on it and was accepted to the South Texas College of Law in Houston where he received his J.D. in 2007.
Degeyter launched a solo practice and initially handled personal injury cases, but he was soon drawn to the practice area of Social Security law. He joined another law firm and over the next two years he handled more than 300 Social Security cases. He joined Makris Law Firm PC in November 2011.
Even though he’s maintaining a busy practice in Houston, Degeyter returns to his home turf–the town of Bridge City, near Beaumont–on occasion. When he does, he often helps out at a local food shelter where he has volunteered over the years. It’s a good way, he said, to remind him of the importance of his legal work.
“It drives home the real problem you see with Social Security,” he said. “Most of the people at the food bank worked, they paid into the system, and something happened to them. They worked 20 years or 30 years making a good salary–$50,000-$60,000 annually–and then they pull on a valve one day, blow a disc in their back, and suddenly they’re not able to do that kind of work.”
“So I understand the real-world aspects of Social Security cases,” he said. “It’s not just a conceptual legal matter to me–I’ve seen how it affects people in real life.”
Education: Lamar University, 1998 (B.S., Communications); Mississippi State University, 2000 (M.S., Geosciences); South Texas College of Law, 2007 (J.D.)
Activities: Republican Law Student Society Member; Federalist Society Member; Environmental Law Society — President 2006-2007, Vice President 2005-2006; Article Editor for Lex Terra (Environmental Law Journal); Activities: National Weather Association Alpha Chapter – Member, 1998 â€“ 2000; Webmaster, 2000; North Mississippi Severe Storm Intercept Team – Member, 1998-2000; Team Leader, 2000; WMSV in Starkville, Mississippi, Volunteer Meteorologist, 1999 – 2000; WOBV in Starkville, Mississippi, Volunteer Meteorologist 1999 – 2000.
Professional Memberships: National Association of National Social Security Claimants Representatives, 2009-2010; Houston Bar Association, 2009-2010; member, College of the State Bar of Texas, 2011.