Because the rate of denial is high in North Carolina, you should not be surprised if you receive a notification of denial (known as a “notice of disapproved claim”) in the mail.
A large percentage of claimants who are denied have a negative reaction to receiving one of these notices. Of course, this is hardly surprising. However, since getting denied for disability in North Carolina at the initial claim level is statistically likely, the best reaction that a claimant who has received a denial notice should have is to immediately request an appeal.
You have 60 days to file a disability appeal. And many claimants do wait until very close to the end of the appeal period to do this, sometimes actually missing the expiration of the appeal deadline…and having to start the process all over again.
When this happens they effectively lose several months in the process, significantly delaying the receipt of their benefits (something that most claimants cannot afford to do).
If your initial disability claim, i.e. Disability application, is denied, strongly consider finding disability representation. Here is the reason: the first disability appeal you file, known as the request for reconsideration, has approximately an 87% chance of denial. In various years, the rate of denial on this first appeal has bounced between 84 and 87%.
Suffice it to say, however, the chances of being approved on this first appeal are very low. This effectively means that a person who gets denied on their initial claim will, most likely, have to file not one but two appeals.
The second appeal will be a request for hearing before an administrative law judge. This is the disability hearing level.
At a hearing, the claimant does not want to appear unrepresented, simply because they will be unaware of how to properly prepare their case, as well as unaware of how to properly present the case to the judge. Presentation includes how to respond to hypothetical situations that may be brought up by a vocational witness who the judge has asked to appear and provide expert testimony for the case.
In addition to a vocational expert, the judge may, and often does, ask a medical expert (who is a licensed medical physician) to provide medical expert testimony at the hearing.
Dealing with expert witnesses at the hearing level is certainly part of the representation service that a disability lawyer in North Carolina, or a non-attorney disability representative in North Carolina, provides.
Finally a last note: regardless of whether or not you have representation on your disability claim, be sure to periodically check the status of your claim. Checking the status is very important.
For example, there are instances in which a claimant submits an appeal well before the required deadline. They do not call to verify that the appeal was received. They also do not perform a status check at some point on their case. If they had, however, they might’ve learned that the appeal that they sent was not actually received. The result is that they have now missed the appeal deadline.
Another example: Social Security denies the claim and sends out a notification of denial. The claimant, however, does not receive the notice, and likewise does not periodically call to check the status of the claim. If they had, however, they might’ve learned that the claim had been denied, and therefore been in the position to submit a timely appeal.
Of course, when appeals are not submitted before the expiration of the deadline, the claimant essentially has to start the process all over again from scratch. This basically amounts to having wasted several months of valuable time on the case.