Social Security Disability Attorney in Greenville, NC
If you have a disabling condition that makes it impossible to work and support yourself, you may have questions about seeking disability benefits. You may be entitled to monthly Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits if you meet the eligibility requirements of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Millions of Americans apply for disability benefits each year. But most initial applications including many valid claims are denied. Don’t give up on the idea of disability benefits without talking with an experienced SSDI lawyer.
For more than 30 years, our attorneys at Hardison & Cochran have helped disabled people across eastern North Carolina pursue the full disability benefits available by law. Our legal team includes an attorney who is recognized by the North Carolina State Bar as a Board-Certified Specialist in Social Security Law, a designation that only a small percentage of lawyers in North Carolina have earned.
Turn to an experienced Greenville Social Security Disability attorney at Hardison & Cochran for guidance about your disability application.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability in Greenville
To qualify for SSDI benefits in Greenville, you’ll need to complete the application process and prove that you meet eligibility criteria.
First, you must demonstrate that you have been diagnosed by a doctor with a qualifying disability, which is defined as a condition that:
- Is considered severe – According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), a severe condition is one that significantly limits your ability to do basic work tasks like lifting, walking, sitting, or recalling information for at least one year.
- Is listed in the Blue Book – The SSA maintains a Listing of Impairments or Blue Book, a catalog of qualifying conditions. If your condition is not listed, the SSA will evaluate whether it is comparable to the conditions in the Blue Book.
- Prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity – Engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) means working enough hours to earn more than $1,350 per month (or $2,260 per month if you are legally blind).
- Prevents you from doing the types of work you did in the past – You may have a qualifying disability if your condition prevents you from doing the work you did previously and prevents you from doing other types of work.
You must prove that you have earned a sufficient number of work credits during your working years to qualify. You accumulate credits by earning income and paying a certain percentage of that income as payroll taxes to Social Security. You can earn up to four credits per year.
To qualify for SSDI benefits, most people need 40 work credits, half of which were earned in the ten years preceding the diagnosis of the disability. However, the number of credits you need may vary depending on your age. If you do not have the work credits to qualify on your own, you may be eligible for spousal benefits based on a spouse’s work history.
How To Apply for Social Security Benefits in Greenville
You can apply for SSDI benefits by applying on the Social Security Administration’s website, or visiting a local SSA office to have a representative guide you through the process. You will need to provide basic identifying information and details of your medical history, work history, and earnings history.
The SSA will conduct your initial eligibility review. Once the Administration determines that you meet basic eligibility requirements, they will forward your application to North Carolina’s Disability Determination Services (DDS). Claims reviewers at DDS will then review your medical evidence and may ask you to attend consultative examinations before making a formal determination.
Documents To Apply for SSD Benefits
Here’s a list of common documents you may need when you apply for federal disability benefits:
- A birth certificate or some other documentation of your birth
- Documentation of your status as a U.S. citizen or lawful non-citizen
- Military discharge papers, if you served in the U.S. military before 1968
- W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns from the previous tax year
- A completed Adult Disability Report with details about your condition, your medical history, and your work history
- Any documentation you have of your condition, including medical records, doctors’ reports, and diagnostic test results
- Pay stubs, award letters, settlement agreements, or other documentation of any workers’ compensation benefits you have collected in the past 17 months
Appealing a Denied Claim
If your disability claim was denied, you are not alone. According to SSA reports, roughly 80 percent of all first-time applications are rejected due to technical mistakes or insufficient evidence.
Your notice of denial should specify why your application was denied and the steps you can take to file an appeal. The appeals process starts with asking the SSA to reconsider its decision.
It is helpful to have a knowledgeable attorney guide you through the appeals process. An attorney can help you submit additional evidence or corrected paperwork along with your appeal based on the stated reasons for the denial.
If your application is denied upon reconsideration, an attorney can request a hearing before an administrative law judge and present your strongest case for benefits.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Disability Lawyer?
Seeking help from an experienced disability attorney can improve your odds of success when applying for SSDI benefits. However, it’s understandable to have questions about how to hire a lawyer if you are unable to work and are experiencing financial stress.
At Hardison & Cochran, our Greenville disability lawyers understand the financial constraints that many of our disabled clients face. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis. We only receive a payment if we are successful in obtaining disability benefits for you.
When you retain our services on a contingency basis, you pay no up-front or out-of-pocket fees for us to begin work on your case. If we successfully settle your claim, we receive a percentage of the settlement amount as our payment. If we are unable to obtain benefits for you, you won’t owe us anything.
Get Help from Skilled Disability Attorneys in Greenville, NC
Whether you are in the early stages of considering an application for disability benefits or your SSD application has been denied, we want to hear from you and evaluate how we may assist. For more than three decades, the attorneys at Hardison & Cochran have helped people just like you seek the full SSD benefits they need to have financial stability and move forward with their lives. We are ready to put our experience to work for you, too. Call us or reach out to us online today to speak with one of our Greenville SSD lawyers.