Filing an Application for Disability Benefits
How do you win disability benefits?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
Social Security Disability--Permanent Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
Qualifying: What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability?
Applying for disability for Fibromyalgia
Filing for disability with Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability on the basis of Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in North Carolina
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Claimants filing for disability in North Carolina can expect to find an approval rate of between 24-30 percent, meaning that between 70 and 76 percent of claimants will face the likelihood of entering the appeal process. However, individuals who are represented on SSD and SSI disability claims in North Carolina tend to have a higher rate of approval, a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the claimant's disability is proven to have started) that can result in higher amounts of back pay.
Social Security Representation may be obtained through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney representatives are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners with an extended history of working from within the federal system. The author of SSDRC.com, Tim Moore is a former disability examiner.
A qualified disability representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law, particularly with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules.
A qualified and competent disability representative or lawyer will also be skilled in the ability to obtain the most relevant case evidence, analyze it correctly, and incorporate it as part of a winning strategy for a claim.
It is in this area that unrepresented claimants often place themselves at a disadvantage because, to win a case, it is not sufficient to simply submit medical records, even in great quantity.
The medical evidence must be recent in order to establish that the individual is currently disabled. It must also address the issue of onset, i.e. when the disability began, so that the claimant will be able to obtain the full amount of back pay for which they are eligible. However, most importantly, the evidence must be reviewed and analyzed to determine if the claim can be won either on the basis of:
A) The claimant having a medical condition that is contained within the Social Security list of impairments (most claims are not won this way), or
B) The claimant having enough functional limitations that they cannot be expected to resume work activity, either in doing a past job, or some type of other work based on their skills, age, and education.
This type of approval is known as a medical-vocational allowance and it is through this means that the majority of approved claims are won.
Because the majority of disability claims are not self-evident and must be proven, it is in this area of focus that a winning case is actually "built". And this is why representation is critical at the disability hearing level, and at the lower levels (disability application and reconsideration appeal) may be crucial as well in many instances.
The experience most NC claimants have after filing for disability
Disability claimants in North Carolina typically experience the Social Security system in this manner: a claim is filed, the claim is denied at the disability application level, a request for reconsideration appeal is filed, that appeal is also denied, and then the second appeal, the request for hearing before an administrative law judge is filed.
In the great majority of cases, if a claim is denied initially, meaning at the application level, then it is almost a sure bet that the claim will be denied on the first appeal, the request for reconsideration. This is because the process does not change at the reconsideration level, other than the fact that a different disability examiner will make the decision on the claim.
In most states, in fact, more than 80 percent of reconsideration appeals are denied. In North Carolina in most years, approximately 86 percent of all reconsiderations are turned down.
Because the chances of being approved on a reconsideration appeal in North Carolina are rather slim, a claimant who has been denied on a disability application should consider finding representation, provided by either a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability representative.
This is for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is the fact that at the next appeal level, the hearing level, it is completely inadvisable to appear before a judge without the benefit of a representative who is knowledgeable about applicable federal regulations, Social Security court rulings, and the medical-vocational grid rules that direct decisions on the majority of claims.
Going to a disability hearing alone presupposes that a claimant has an indepth understanding of Social Security administrative law and procedure. And this is almost never the case.
However, there are other reasons for being represented on a claim, as well as reasons for being represented prior to the hearing level, and even prior to being denied the first time.
An NC disability representative will ensure that appeal filing deadlines are met, that questions and inquiries brought by up the Social Security office or disability determination services (DDS is where all disability examiners, who make decisions on SSD and SSI claims, are based) are appropriately responded to, and that the status of the case is known at all times.
A disability representative in North Carolina may assist a claimant with completing their initial claim paperwork, ensuring that the information provided is detailed, accurate, and, thus, optimal for the claim. A disability representative may also, in certain instances, be able to engage in case development that results in the claim being won at an earlier level, i.e. without the need for a hearing. When this occurs, a claimant may save many months of valuable case processing time and receive their benefits and back pay considerably sooner.
It is important to remember that this is not always the case, but the real purpose of a disability representative, lawyer or non-attorney, is to shepherd the claimant's case so that they receive the most favorable outcome possible.
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Questions and Answers about Social Security Disability and SSI Disability
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina NC, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims
NC towns and cities and their accompanying SSA field offices (project under development):
Aberdeen NC, Ahoskie, Alamance, Albemarle, Alliance, Andrews, Angier, Ansonville, Apex, Arapahoe, Archdale, Archer Lodge, Arlington, Asheville, Atkinson, Atlantic Beach, Aulander, Aurora, Autryville, Ayden
Badin NC, Bailey, Bald Head Island, Banner Elk, Bath, Bayboro, Bear Grass, Beaufort, Beech Mountain, Belhaven, Belmont, Belville, Belwood, Benson, Bessemer City,Bethania, Bethel, Beulaville, Biltmore Forest, Biscoe, Black Creek, Black Mountain, Bladenboro, Blowing Rock, Boardman, Bogue, Boiling Spring Lakes, Boiling Springs, Bolivia, Bolton, Boone, Boonville, Bostic, Brevard, Bridgeton, Broadway, Brookford, Brunswick, Bryson City, Bunn, Burgaw, Burlington, Burnsville,
Cajah's Mountain NC, Calabash, Calypso, Cameron, Candor, Cape Carteret, Carolina Beach, Carolina Shores, Carrboro, Carthage, Cary, Cashiers, Castalia, Caswell Beach, Catawba, Cedar Point, Centerville, Cerro Gordo, Chadbourn, Chapel Hill , Charlotte City, Cherryville, Chimney Rock, China Grove, Chocowinity, Clarkton, Clayton, Clemmons, Cleveland, Clinton, Clyde, Coats, Colerain, Columbia, Columbus, Comfort, Como, Concord, Conetoe, Connelly Springs, Conover, Conway, Cooleemee, Cove City, Cramerton, Creedmoor, Creswell, Crossnore,
Dallas NC, Danbury, Davidson, Denton, Dillsboro, Dobson, Dover, Drexel, Dublin, Duck, Dunn, Durham,
Earl NC, East Arcadia, East Bend, East Laurinburg, East Spencer, Eden, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Elizabethtown, Elk Park, Elkin, Ellenboro, Ellerbe, Elm City, Elon, Emerald Isle, Enfield, Erwin, Eureka, Everetts,
Fair Bluff NC, Fairmont, Fairview, Faison, Faith, Falcon, Falkland, Fallston, Farmville, Farmlife, Fayetteville, Flat Rock, Fletcher, Forest City, Four Oaks, Foxfire, Franklin, Franklinton, Franklinville, Fremont, Fuquay-Varina,
Gamewell NC, Garland, Garner, Garysburg, Gaston, Gastonia, Gatesville, Gibson, Gibsonville, Glen Alpine, Godwin, Goldsboro, Graham, Granite Falls, Granite Quarry, Grantsboro, Green Level, Greenevers, Greensboro, Greenville, Grifton, Grimesland, Grover,
Halifax NC, Hamilton, Hamlet, Harmony, Harrells, Harrellsville, Haw River, Hayesville, Hazelwood, Henderson, Hemby Bridge, Hendersonville, Hertford, Hickory, Highfalls, High Point, High Shoals, Highlands, Hildebran, Hillsborough, Hobgood, Hobbsville, Hoffman, Holden Beach, Hookerton, Hope Mills, Hot Springs, Hudson, Huntersville,
Indian Beach NC, Indian Trail,
Jackson NC, Jacksonville, Jamestown, Jamesville, Jefferson, Jonesville,
Kannapolis NC, Kelford, Kenansvillev Kenly, Kill Devil Hills, Kings Mountain, Kingstown, Kittrell, Kitty Hawk, Knightdale, Kure Beach,
La Grange NC, Lake Lure, Lake Park, Lake Santeetlah, Lake Waccamaw, Landis, Lansing, Lattimore, Laurel Park, Laurel Springs, Laurinburg, Lawndale, Leggett, Leland, Lenoir, Lewiston Woodville, Lewisville, Lexington, Liberty, Lilesville, Lillington, Lincolnton, Linden, Linville, Littleton, Long Beach, Louisburg, Love Valley, Lowell, Lucama, Lumber Bridge,
Macclesfield NC, Madison, Maggie Valley, Magnolia, Manteo, Marietta, Marion, Marshville, Mars Hill, Marshall, Marvin, Maxton, Mayodan, Maysville, McAdenville, McDonald, McFarlan, Mebane, Mesic, Micro, Middleburg, Middlesex, Midway, Milton, Mineral Springs, Minnesott Beach, Mocksville, Momeyer, Monroe, Mooresboro, Mooresville, Morehead City, Morganton, Morrisville, Morven, Mount Airy, Mount Gilead, Mount Holly, Mount Olive, Mount Pleasant, Murfreesboro, Murphy,
Nags Head NC, Nashville, Navassa, New London, Newland, Newport, Newton, Newton Grove, Norlina, North Topsail Beach, North Wilkesboro, Northwest, Norwood,
Oak City NC, Oakboro, Oak Ridge, Ocean Isle Beach, Old Fort, Orrum, Oxford,
Pantego NC, Parkton, Parmele, Patterson Springs, Peachland, Pembroke, Pikeville, Pilot Mountain, Pine Knoll Shores, Pine Level, Pinebluff, Pinehurst, Pineville, Pink Hill, Pittsboro, Pleasant Garden, Princeton, Princeville, Proctorville,
Raeford NC, Raleigh, Ramseur, Randleman, Ranlo, Raynham, Red Oak, Red Springs, Reidsville, Rennert, Reynolds, Rhodhiss, Rich Square, Richfield, Richlands, River Bend, Roanoke Rapids, Robbinsville, Robersonville, Rockingham, Rockwell, Rocky Mount, Rocky Point, Rolesville, Ronda, Roper, Rose Hill, Roseboro, Rosman, Rowland, Roxboro, Rural Hall, Ruth, Rutherford College, Rutherfordton,
Salemburg NC, Salisbury, Saluda, Sandy Creek, Sandyfield, Saratoga, Sawmills, Scotland Neck, Seaboard, Seagrove, Sedalia, Selma, Seven Springs, Severn, Shallotte, Sharpsburg, Siler City, Simpson, Sims, Smithfield, Snow Hill, Southern Pines, Southern Shores, Southport, Sparta, Spencer, Spencer Mountain, Spindale, Spring Hope, Spring Lake, Spruce Pine, St. Helena, St. Pauls, Staley, Stallings, Stanfield, Stanley, Stantonsburg, Star, Stedman, Stem, Stokesdale, Stonewall, Stovall, Sugar Mountain, Summerfield, Sunset Beach, Surf City, Swansboro, Sylva—city,
Tabor City NC, Tar Heel, Tarboro, Taylorsville, Taylortown, Tobaccoville, Topsail Beach, Trent Woods, Trenton, Trinity—city, Troutman, Troy, Tryon, Turkey,
Valdese NC, Vanceboro, Vandemere, Varnamtown, Vass,
Waco NC, Wade, Wadesboro, Wagram, Wake Forest, Wallace, Wallburg—town, Walnut Cove, Walnut Creek, Walstonburg, Warrenton, Warsaw, Washington, Washington Park, Watha, Waxhaw, Waynesville, Weddington, West End, Weldon, Wendell, Wentworth, Wesley Chapel, West Jefferson, Whispering Pines, Whitakers, White Lake, Whiteville, Whitsett, Whynot—town, Wilkesboro, Williamston, Johnston, Wilmington, Wilson, Wilson's Mills, Winfall, Wingate, Winston-Salem, Winterville, Winton, Woodfin, Woodland, Wrightsville Beach,
Yadkinville NC, Yanceyville