by Tim Moore, Disability Representative, former NC Disability Examiner. Free Case Evaluation Form at the bottom or click here.
Doing a Disability Appeal in North Carolina
Roughly one-third of all claims for disability in North Carolina are approved by disability determination services, or DDS, in Raleigh, NC. Approximately 70 percent of claims are denied.
For most individuals filing for disability in NC, the experience of trying to win disability benefits will be to 1. file a claim, 2. have it denied, 3. file a reconsideration appeal, 4. have it denied as well, and 5. request a hearing at which the individual will have their best chance of being approved for disability benefits.
What about filing a new claim after getting a notice of denial? Many people do this, but…individuals who file for disability, get denied, and then repeatedly file new claims will usually only get the same answer from the Social Security Administration: a notice of denial.
For the best chance of winning your claim
To give yourself the best chance of ultimately winning disability benefits in North Carolina, you should appeal each denial you receive quickly after you are notified. Moving the claim along until the case can be heard by a judge at a hearing will usually offer the best chances of being awarded.
However, one of the most important things to remember when doing an appeal for disability is this: do the appeal timely. SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance) and SSI appeals have a sixty day deadline, from the date of the denial, and the last thing you want to do is miss your dealine to file your appeal timely.
If your miss your appeal deadline, you will, most likely, have to start all over with a brand new SSD or SSI disability application. If you have a valid reason for submitting a late appeal, such as a medical or family emergency, you may be able to qualify for good cause (basically, this means you are granted an excuse for submitting the appeal beyond the deadline), but it is completely up to SSA as to whether or not they will grant this.
Of course, if you have a disability lawyer or disability representative handling your claim, they should also get a copy of your disability claim denial around the same you receive your copy (usually, the lawyer will get a copy within 3 days of the claimant receiving theirs). And this fact usually ensures that the appeal will be done on time. But even so, it’s a good idea to call your lawyer as soon as you find out you have been denied just in case the lawyer’s office does not receive their copy of the notice.