North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers
If you have applied for benefits through the Social Security Disability (SSD) program and been denied, you may feel frustrated and unsure what to do. You may be worried because you cannot work and need disability benefits to make ends meet. More than 300,000 people in North Carolina receive disability benefits. Many of those people obtained SSD benefits after being turned down initially.
Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability is a social program that provide income if you are disabled and unable to work.
You must show that you meet the Social Security Administration’s strict definition of disability. You must have a disabling physical or mental condition that prevents you from doing any type of work. The disabling condition must be one that is expected to last at least a year and result in death.
In addition to meeting the definition of disability, you also must have worked enough years and made contributions to the Social Security system to qualify. A lawyer at Hardison & Cochran can make sure the information about your employment history is correct and see that you are properly credited with all your years of employment so that you may qualify for SSD.
Our attorneys can help you determine if you qualify for benefits and provide trusted guidance throughout the claims process.
Applying for SSD Benefits in North Carolina in 3 Steps
The first step is to file an initial claim for disability benefits. You can go to the local Social Security office, file the application online or file the application by phone. You will need to provide information about your work history, and medical records related to the disability that prevents you from working. Unfortunately, most applications are denied initially. Our attorneys at Hardison & Cochran can answer your questions, help determine if you are eligible for disability benefits and help you file a complete initial application if you wish. Contact a knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney for a free consultation about appealing the decision.
If your initial application is turned down, you must request a reconsideration within 60 days. At this point, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable disability attorney if you have not already done so. Many valid claims are denied again during the reconsideration. But don’t give up! Often the problem is the application lacks sufficient evidence of the medical disability. You don’t want an incomplete application to cause further delays. Our attorneys can review the reasons your application was denied and help you file a request for reconsideration.
If the claims examiners deny your claim upon reconsideration, you must request a hearing within 60 days. At the hearing, your attorney will present your disability claim to a North Carolina Administrative Law Judge. The judge will hear testimony and review your doctor’s reports and your application. The judge may take several months to make a decision in your case.
To give you an idea of the length of time you may have to wait for a hearing, the average waiting times from the date a hearing is requested until a hearing is held in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review’s hearing offices in North Carolina are as follows:
The average number of days until final disposition of cases processed by the SSD hearing offices in North Carolina offices:
What Disability Benefits Will I Receive?
Your Social Security Disability benefits will depend in part on how much income you earned before you developed the disabling condition. The Social Security Administration will calculate your disability benefits based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security.
Once approved, the disability benefits will continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. If you are still collecting disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount will remain the same.
Social Security Disability Frequently Asked Questions
We have put together some general answers to common questions about Social Security Disability. For answers to your specific questions, please contact Hardison & Cochran for a free consultation with a knowledgeable Social Security disability attorney.
Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are both federal programs that provide financial assistance to people who have long-term disabilities. Social Security Disability Insurance is federal assistance available to disabled individuals who have worked enough years and contributed money to the program through federal withholdings to qualify.
Meanwhile, Supplemental Security Income is an income-based disability benefits program available to people with very low incomes and few financial resources who did not pay money into the Social Security system. Individuals may qualify for one program or the other, based on income levels.
You are not required to have an attorney handle your SSD claim. But you may choose to have a lawyer represent you and the Social Security representatives will work with your legal representative. Having an attorney to guide you through the complicated claims process can reduce your stress and give you confidence that you are presenting the strongest possible claim for disability benefits.
If you submit an application that does not have complete information, it may lead to a claims examiner in the N.C. Disability Determination Services office denying your application. An attorney can ensure that the Social Security Administration receives prompt responses to requests for additional information and that all filing deadlines are met.
A knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer at Hardison & Cochran can work with you to gather medical records and make sure your disability benefits application contains the relevant information and medical documentation regarding your disability. You need to make clear that your condition prevents you from working, and that it falls within the list of medical conditions that are so severe that you are considered to be disabled as a matter of law. Our attorney can accompany you to any interviews, hearings or conferences with the claims reviewers.
Our North Carolina disability claims attorney can request reconsideration of a denied claim, or seek a hearing or Appeals Council review of your claim. Our attorney can represent you at hearings and prepare you and your witnesses for a hearing and responding to questions.