The approval rates for North Carolina that you’ll see listed below are fairly consistent with the national averages. About one of three people will be approved on their intial claim, or disability application. If you get denied and have to file a request for reconsideration, this will probably get denied also. But the reconsideration appeal usually only takes a few weeks. After the reconsideration, we request a disability hearing and this is where you have your best chance of getting disability benefits.
What a person has to keep in mind with this process is that 1) they should file a claim immediately if their condition will keep them from working for at least 12 months, 2) they should prepare for the possiblity of being denied while knowing that if they appeal they stand a very good chance of getting disability benefits approved.
As a disability examiner for North Carolina DDS, I saw how many people gave up on their claims. As a disability representative, I see how many people get approved when they do not give on their claims. At our practice, we assist with claims at all levels and we help individuals get their claim started by making the initial contact for them with the Social Security Administration for them, something that is complicated for claimants because of SSA short-staffing issues.
The chances of being approved at various levels
North Carolina has approximately a 33% chance of approval at the application level, and approximately a 10-15% chance of approval at the reconsideration appeal level. But at a hearing, your chances go up significantly.
Approval rates go up significantly at disability hearings with representation
At the hearing level in North Carolina, about 54% of cases heard by judges are approved, and the approval rate does go up when claims are represented, versus claimants going to hearings unrepresented and without the proper preparation and presentation of the case.
Why does the approval rate on NC disability claims go up when a claim is handled by a disability representative?
Disability representatives will do a number of things that an unrepresented claimant will simply not know to do, or know how to effectively do.
Things a Representative will do win your case
A NC disability representative will review the case file to look for medical evidence that was previously reviewed by NC DDS (North Carolina disability determination services).
This is done to check and see if medical evidence was not requested by the disability examiner who issued the decision on the claim, and also to see if the claimant’s past work was properly classified. They will also check to see if a medical-vocational grid rule was correctly or incorrectly applied.
Additionally, they will also check to see if the RFC, or residual functional capacity, rating given to the claimant was in-line with the medical evidence in the file. In other words, did the disability examiner, after reviewing the medical records, mistakenly assume that the individual was capable of more than they actually are capable of doing in a work setting?
In short, a disability representative or attorney will look for any possible mistakes that were made on the decision of the claim, either at the disability application level, or request for reconsideration appeal level.
This, combined with the fact that a disability representative will attempt to gather evidence that provides strong indications that the claimant no longer has the functional capacity to engage in work activity, will strengthen a case substantially.