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How do I win disability benefits in North Carolina?
To win disability benefits in North Carolina, a case must satisfy the Social Security Administration's own unique definition of disability.
The definition essentially states that a person must have at least one severe condition, which may be mental or physical in nature, and that the condition must last for at least one full year, and may potentially result in death.
How do you prove that one, or more, of your conditions meet this definition?
After you apply for disability at a Social Security office in North Carolina, your case will be transferred to a disability examiner at North Carolina disability determination services, otherwise known as NC DDS.
Disability decisions at NC DDS usually take between 3 to 4 months (though they can take much longer, especially if the examiner has some difficulty obtaining your records from your treatment sources, or if you need to be scheduled for multiple consultative examinations) and typically have a fairly high rate of denial.
In some years, the approval rate may have gone as high as 35%, but in most years it tends to hover around 30%.
How does the disability examiner work on your case? The examiner is a claims specialist who will request medical records and review them, looking for signs of limitations in your ability to do basic, normal daily activities, which translates into your ability to perform a job.
The disability examiner uses a sequential evaluation process to see if your case meets the SSA definition of disability. Several questions are asked in this process.
The first question is whether or not you are currently working and earning what Social Security considers to be a substantial and gainful income. If you do happen to be working when you file for disability, most likely your claim will be denied that point. Your case will not even be sent to a disability examiner to have your medical records requested and evaluated.
If you are not working, the next question is whether or not your condition is considered severe versus nonsevere.
For example, if your only condition is an ankle sprain, most likely you will be considered to have a nonsecure condition and you will be turned down for disability benefits.
If your condition is considered to be severe, however, and this could be anything including even simple back pain, your case will move on to a real consideration of what your medical records have to say about your condition, or conditions.
At this point, the NC disability examiner will be going through the records they have obtained from your doctors, clinics, and hospitals.
What will the examiner be looking for specifically? Many people assume that the examiner is simply looking for a diagnosis of the condition. However, the process is more complex than that.
In the system used by the Social Security Administration, the condition you have is not nearly so important as the extent to which it limits your ability to engage in various areas of function.
Therefore, the examiner will be looking for evidence that you have trouble in any of the following areas: lifting more than a certain amount of weight, not being able to sit, stand, or walk for more than a certain amount of time, having trouble bending, stooping, reaching, grasping, seeing, hearing, remembering, concentrating etc, etc,etc.
Essentially, the examiner will be looking for signs of any reduced ability to do any basic physical or mental function. These are called "functional limitations".
After your functional limitations have been noted, the examiner will assess, or rate, your limitations on something known as an RFC, or residual functional capacity form. The ratings that you receive will be compared to the types of work you've done in the past, and this will be used to make two critical determinations on your case.
First of all, can you go back to one of your past jobs? Secondly, can you perform some type of other work based on your skills, education, and age, and functional capabilities?
If the answer to both questions is no, you will most likely receive a Social Security disability award, or an award for SSI if this is the program you applied
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Filing for NC disability benefits
Applying for Disability in North Carolina - How to apply, qualify, and meet filing requirements
Applying for NC disability benefits
More about filing for disability benefits in North Carolina
How to claim disability benefits in North Carolina
What happens on a disability application in North Carolina?
How long will it take to receive NC disability benefits if your application is approved?
Basic questions about disability benefits in North Carolina
How much can you receive in disability backpay in North Carolina?
How far back do you get disability benefits in North Carolina?
Can You Work and Collect Social Security Disability in North Carolina?
How to Get the Status on Your Social Security Disability Claim in North Carolina
How do I get help to win my disability claim in North Carolina?
The disability process in North Carolina
What condition or conditions qualifies for disability in North Carolina?
How long does it take to get through the disability system in North Carolina?
Is it hard to get disability benefits in North Carolina?
What are my chances of being approved for disability benefits in North Carolina?
How long does it take to receive North Carolina disability benefits after you are approved?
Disability determination services in North Carolina
Disability decisions in North Carolina
How long does it take for the disability decision in North Carolina?
How does the North Carolina Social Security disability determination process work?
Getting disability benefits in North Carolina
Getting denied for disability in North Carolina and filing appeals
What does getting disability benefits in North Carolina involve?
How to get on disability in North Carolina
NC Disability requirements and qualifications
Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in North Carolina?
What is the criteria for disability benefits in North Carolina?
What are the disability qualifications in North Carolina?
Proving the requirements for disability in North Carolina
How do you meet the Disability qualifications in North Carolina?
SSI and Social Security Disability requirements in North Carolina
How do I Know If I Qualify For Disability in North Carolina?
Winning Disability benefits in NC
How do I win disability benefits in North Carolina?
Improving your chances of getting disability in North Carolina
How to improve the chances of winning a North Carolina disability hearing
Will an attorney or representative help me win North Carolina disability benefits?
Winning disability benefits in North Carolina
Mental Disability benefits in NC
Receiving disability for a mental condition in North Carolina
How do you receive benefits for a mental disability in North Carolina?
Getting approved for mental disability benefits in North Carolina
Disability awards and award notices in North Carolina
Getting a Social Security disability award in North Carolina
The Social Security disability award notice process in North Carolina
What affects how much time it takes to get a disability award in North Carolina?
Disability representation in North Carolina
Should I get a disability representative or lawyer in North Carolina?
Who can provide disability representation in North Carolina?
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in North Carolina
How do Disability Lawyers in North Carolina get paid their fees?
Denied for disability in North Carolina, should I get an attorney or representative?
Disability attorney fees in NC - paying your lawyer or representative
How does a disability lawyer or representative get paid in North Carolina?
How much does the fee cost for a disability attorney in North Carolina?
Do you pay your disability lawyer in North Carolina or does Social Security pay the fee?
Will your North Carolina disability lawyer charge you upfront for taking your case?
Will your NC disability attorney charge you for any expenses other than the main fee?
NC disability hearings
What kind of decision will you get at a disability hearing in North Carolina?
NC disability hearing - how long for a decision?
Do you have to go to a Social Security hearing in North Carolina to get approved for disability?
The disability hearing in North Carolina- things to keep in mind
How do you prepare for a disability hearing in North Carolina?