Social Security Disability benefits can be an invaluable lifeline for anyone who has a medical condition that impairs their ability to work. However, securing approval for any type of Social Security Disability program is notoriously difficult, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects most of the applications it receives from Americans each year.
While some application denials are based on clerical, procedural, or technical errors and omissions, others result from claimants not actually having qualifying conditions. The SSA is very strict in terms of the conditions covered by Social Security benefits, and an applicant must meet specific qualifications to receive benefits.
Applying for any type of Social Security Disability benefits can be daunting and frustrating when you do not have legal counsel advising you. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney in North Carolina is a tremendous asset that can improve your chances of success with your claim.
The SSA handles claims for benefits and benefits distribution at a national scale, but there are many state-level agencies throughout the country responsible for processing claims for benefits. If you intend to file a claim for Social Security benefits in North Carolina, your claim will be reviewed by the North Carolina Disability Determination Services (DDS) Office in Raleigh.
Once an investigator has been assigned to a claim, they will review all the claimant’s personal documentation to determine whether they have a qualifying condition. There are two types of Social Security Disability benefits for which you may apply in North Carolina:
When North Carolina DDS must review a claim for Social Security benefits, they will review the claimant’s medical records and compare them alongside the SSA’s list of qualifying conditions. If the claimant meets the appropriate criteria and has the documentation to support their case, the DDS office passes the claim to the SSA with their approval, and a determination of benefits follows.
Even if you know for sure that you have a covered condition that should enable you to collect SSDI benefits, it is possible for the SSA to reject your initial claim for a number of possible reasons. When this occurs, you must navigate the appeals process to have the SSA reconsider your claim. In the event your rejection is based on the SSA’s belief that you do not have a qualifying condition, you may need an attorney’s assistance to gather the evidence needed to prove otherwise.
An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help you file a much stronger initial claim, reducing the chances of facing a denial. If you have already filed a claim and the SSA has rejected it, your attorney can guide you through the appeal process. You will need to petition for reconsideration of your claim. You may also need to undergo further medical examinations to accurately assess the scope of your condition, and you could face numerous other challenges as well. Having legal counsel you can trust readily available as you navigate the claim process is an invaluable asset.
The SSA maintains a “Blue Book” of all medical conditions and disabilities that can be covered by SSA benefits. Any condition or disability resulting in significant loss of function can potentially qualify for disability benefits. The claimant must prove their condition is serious enough to prevent them from handling gainful employment.
The SSA’s Blue Book of covered conditions that would qualify an individual for SSDI includes various illnesses and acquired medical conditions as well as conditions that result from acute traumatic injury. Your condition, whether the result of injury or illness, must cause a significant impairment in your ability to work and earn income for you to qualify for SSDI. Additionally, you must also have the necessary work credits to qualify for SSDI payments.
The amount you can receive in SSDI benefits for a covered condition hinges on the severity of the condition and the amount of functional capacity you retain. If you already receive benefits like state-level disability benefits or workers’ compensation benefits, the SSA takes these into consideration when awarding your SSDI benefits. On average, SSDI recipients in North Carolina receive about $1,300 in benefits each month, and the maximum possible SSDI benefit is just over $3,000 per month.
Technically, you do not need to hire legal counsel to file a claim for SSDI benefits. However, you are far more likely to succeed with your initial claim or an appeal with an experienced attorney’s assistance. The SSA rejects most of the applications received each year for various reasons, but primarily due to technical, procedural, or clerical errors. Having an attorney assist you will ensure your claim is as detailed and cohesive as possible.
Christina Rivenbark & Associates provide comprehensive legal representation to injured workers and others seeking Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina. We know how challenging and frustrating the claim process can be, and our team has the experience you need on your side to reach a positive outcome to your claim. Contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about how we can help with your SSDI claim in North Carolina.