by Tim Moore. Free Case Evaluation here. In most cases, getting a Social Security Disability…
You can get approved for Social Security Disability or SSI in North Carolina if you are under the age of 50, but it can be more difficult than if you were age 50 or older.
To explain why this is the case, let’s briefly discuss the two ways of getting a disability award if your case is not at the disability hearing level, meaning it is a disability application, or a reconsideration appeal.
Disability applications and reconsideration appeals (the request for reconsideration is the first appeal that is filed if the application is denied) are decided by disability examiners in Raleigh at DDS, or disability determination services. An examiner can approve a claim in these two ways:
- The first way is if your medical condition meets a listing in the Social Security list of impairments. The listings provided very specific approval criteria for many (but not all) medical conditions. This criteria can be difficult to meet. So even if you have congestive heart failure or COPD, which are in the listings, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be approved through a listing. And, in fact, most people who are approved are not approved through a listing.
- The second way of being approved is if you get a medical vocational allowance. This means that Social Security will look at your age, education, residual functional capacity, and work skills to determine if you can return to your past work, or do some type of other work. If you can do neither, you may be approved.
The problem with this second kind of approval is that it is more generous to people over the age of fifty. And this explains why so many cases are denied by Social Security at the initial level.
Yet, despite this fact, there are many people who successfully win their disability benefits. And they do this at a disability hearing. How is it that a person can be denied on an application and a reconsideration appeal and then be approved by a judge?
The Judge has more discretion to approve your claim
The answer is that a disability judge will consider things that a disability examiner will not. In other words, disability judges have a third way of approving a disability claim. And this is by using Social security Rulings that allows them to give much more attention to how your medical condition limits your ability to do normal everyday tasks.
Of course, even with this added leighway in decision-making, it is also true that judges are often not likely to approve claims if a person is not represented. And this is simply because a disability representative will present an argument, based on law, for the approval of your benefits.
So, while it may be more difficult to get disability if you are under age fifty initially, if you appeal your claim to the level of a disability hearing, you will have a good chance of approval if you have good representation and good medical records to support your case.