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North Carolina Denied Social Security Disability Benefits Explained

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Jun 15, 2022
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The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the government agency charged with managing the country’s Social Security program. US citizens can receive Social Security Disability and retirement benefits under certain conditions. Most people pay into Social Security over their years in the workforce, accumulating work credits they can redeem later for ongoing benefits. Others are severely disabled and have limited income and assets. The SSA maintains benefits programs aimed at different types of claimants, and any of these claims can be unexpectedly denied, frustrating and confusing claimants.

In North Carolina, it’s common for people afflicted by disabilities to file claims for Social Security benefits only to have their claims denied. Every year, the SSA denies vastly more claims than the agency approves, and there are many reasons a claim for Social Security Disability benefits may be denied.

Denied Social Security Disability Benefits Explained

Most Common Causes of Social Security Disability Benefits Claim Denials

It’s common for people who need Social Security Disability benefits to file claims several times before securing any favorable results. The SSA has a wide network of state-managed disability examiners investigating disability claims. These examiners conduct thorough reviews of local cases, often taking time to meet with claimants to better understand their situations. The examiners then pass their findings to the SSA investigator assigned to the claim, and they make a final decision.

Some of the most commonly cited reasons for Social Security Disability claim denials include:

  • Ineligible conditions. The SSA maintains a Blue Book of all qualifying conditions that would enable a claimant to secure Social Security Disability benefits. However, a claimant can misinterpret details of their condition or listings of approved conditions in the SSA’s Blue Book. This can lead to the SSA denying a claim based on the claimant not having a qualifying condition.
  • Lack of evidence. It’s possible for a claimant to have a qualifying condition but lack the evidence needed to prove their disability. Working with an experienced attorney is the best option in this situation. The attorney can advise their client of the best possible methods of legally proving their disability.
  • Wrong benefits class. The SSA provides two forms of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI applies to workers who suffer injuries on the job and have accumulated work credits, while SSI is for disabled adults and children with minimal assets and income. Claims may be denied if the claimant files for the wrong type of benefits.
  • Residual functional capacity. Part of the disability determination process is evaluating a claimant’s residual functional capacity or the level of physical ability they possess to perform job duties for gainful employment. If the claimant possesses enough residual functional capacity, the SSA may not deem them eligible for disability benefits.
  • Assets and other benefits. The SSA awards disability benefits after calculating a recipient’s current state-level disability and workers’ compensation benefits. If a claimant is already collecting more than a certain threshold of alternative disability benefits and income from gainful work, they may be denied Social Security benefits.

When a claim for Social Security benefits is denied, the claimant has several options for responding. First, they may request that the SSA reconsider their claim, citing any issues, missing details, or other variables in the initial claim that may have led to the denial. It’s possible to secure a hearing with an SSA administrative law judge who will evaluate any details the claimant wishes to present for reconsideration.

Claimants only have a limited time to petition for reconsideration after their claims for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. However, if you find yourself in this situation, an experienced attorney can help you assess why your claim was denied, whether you have grounds to request reconsideration, and prepare you for the process if you have grounds.

Social Security Disability Benefits FAQs

Q: What Happens If a Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied?

A: Once a claim for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, the claimant must assess the reason for the denial. It’s possible that refiling the claim with additional information and/or errors corrected could yield a more favorable result. An experienced attorney can guide the client through an appeal, the reconsideration process, and administrative law proceedings before an SSA judge.

Q: Can I Earn Too Much to Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

A: It’s possible to earn income by working while receiving Social Security Disability benefits and other disability benefits. However, it’s vital to remember there are limits to how much a benefits recipient may earn while collecting Social Security Disability. Your attorney can help you understand the terms of your benefits determination, including how much income you may legally earn while continuing to receive benefits.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Appeal a Denied Claim?

A: The appeal process can be very lengthy in some cases. You have 60 days to file an appeal on a denied claim, and it may take quite a while before the SSA can schedule a hearing with an administrative law judge. It’s possible to resolve a denied claim within a few months, but the exact timetable hinges on many factors. Your attorney can help you streamline these proceedings and secure a positive result faster than you could on your own.

Q: Is It Worth Hiring an Attorney for a Social Security Disability Claim Denial?

A: Legal counsel will dramatically improve the outcome of your Social Security Disability claim. Whether you need to appeal a denied claim or are filing for the first time, hiring an experienced attorney significantly improves your chances of success. If you encounter problems with your claim, your attorney will help you determine the best possible solutions.

Christina Rivenbark & Associates has years of experience helping North Carolina clients with their Social Security Disability cases. We understand how frustrating it can be to have a disability claim met with denial. To address the appeal process for your Social Security Disability benefits claim in North Carolina, call our firm. Contact us today for more information about the legal services we provide for Social Security Disability claims.

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