by Tim Moore. Free Case Evaluation here. In most cases, getting a Social Security Disability…
To get SSI in North Carolina, you must have the following that is true, because this is what the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability says must be present in your case for you to qualify for disability benefits.
You must have at least one severe medically determinable medical impairment. What does that mean? Severe means more than non-severe. For example, a sprained wriste is non-severe. A broken wrist is severe. It really is that simple, severe vs non-severe. Medically determinable means that you have medical evidence, such as a doctor’s diagnosis, and possibly testing, imaging, and lab values in your medical records. All of that simply means that you have gotten medical treatment to validate your claim.
However, the definition of disability does not end there. Your severe medical impairment must last for at least a year and be severe enough that it prevents you from working above a certain earnings level each month. So, this does not mean that you cannot work. It means that you cannot work and earn more than the SGA, or substantial gainful activity limit in North Carolina for a full year due to the limitations caused by your medical impairment. For most people, however, this will effectively mean not working at any job.
Do you have to be out of work for a year before you apply? No, if your job stopped yesterday, you could call our office and have us contact Social Security on your behalf to get your claim started. And we would do this by getting you an appointment for a disability application interview appointment to be done by phone.
Filing the claim for SSI is the first step, of course. Many people have good claims for disability but put off filing because they find the process stressful or because they still hold out hope that they will get better and return to work. But because of how long claims take, it is usually better to get the process started.
How to get the SSI claim started
You can contact Social Security through their website and file online. I advise against this because I have seen too many issues that occur because of online filing. It is simply better to speak with a live person. What we do is contact the Social Security office nearest to you and schedule your interview appointment. After we do this, we let you know the time and date they will be calling you. We also go over the kinds of questions and information that Social Security will be requesting from you.
Going over these questions in advance of your disability application interview can make the process much easier. It can also help ensure that you give Social Security all the correct information they need. Otherwise, your claim might move more slowly or may be more likely to get denied.
Part of what we do in handling your case for you is A) answer all your questions, and B) prepare you at each step of the way. Obviously, a lot of preparation occurs if you have to appear at a hearing before a judge. And, in fact, this is what most people must do to win their benefits. What is why we do an indepth pre-hearing consultation to make sure you can anticipate the kinds of questions that a judge will ask you, in addition to getting you familiar with how the hearing actually goes.
More pages to help you learn about the process in NC: