Government benefits paid to someone with a disability are not welfare. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program set up by the U.S. Congress to allow Americans to pay into an annuity that pays out if they become disabled and can no longer work. Workers with a recognized, diagnosed disability will only qualify for monthly SSDI payments if they contributed to the SSDI program through payroll deduction or direct payment (if self-employed).
Although most American workers qualify for SSDI after suffering a permanent disability, the federal government has made the approval process difficult. In fact, as high as 60% of all initial applicants are denied, usually because of minor administrative details.
There are eight main reasons a social security disability claim may be denied. Knowing them can help applicants take necessary steps to ensure that their claim is not denied.
In North Carolina, the appeals process begins with a Request for Reconsideration. The method to submit this request will be in the letter outlining the denial of benefits and the reasons for it. Reconsideration can be a lengthy process, but in short, it is a complete review of the claim by medical consultants and examiners that were not part of the original decision.
When a request for reconsideration is denied, applicants can still appeal the denial. The next step is to request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) within 60 days of the denial of reconsideration. Generally speaking, ALJs grant benefits to approximately half of the applicants who make it this far in the appeals process. When they do not, applicants can request that the Appeals Council review their case. The Appeals Council randomly selects cases for review and has the authority to grant, deny, or dismiss a request for review. The Appeals Council is not likely to grant benefits to those that have been denied, particularly if they cannot find error with the ALJ’s decision. The chances of winning at this stage are only 2% to 3%.
When all other methods have been exhausted and benefits have still been denied, applicants can file a lawsuit in a U.S. district court. While there will not be a jury present in the courtroom, applicants are strongly advised to hire a lawyer if they have not already done so. A social security attorney in Wilmington can ensure all paperwork is filed properly, explain the process to the applicant, and give them the best chance of success.
There are many medical conditions that can qualify an individual for social security disability benefits as outlined in Social Security’s Blue Book. In addition to meeting the medical requirements outlined in this book, an applicant must also provide medical evidence from acceptable sources that prove that they are impaired. To learn more about applying for disability benefits and to get a social security attorney from Wilmington on your side, call our firm today.
Although our primary office location is in Wilmington, North Carolina we represent clients nationally and across the state of North Carolina. Some of the many areas we serve are listed below.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. Our attorneys also remain available to our clients via phone, email and other means, ultimately focused on doing what is truly in their best interests.
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