If you are self-employed, you can own a business while on SSDI as long as you meet the Social Security Administration (SSA) Code of Federal Regulations criteria. Examples of self-employment can include sole proprietors of a business, independent contractors, landlords, and LLC owners. However, S-Corp owners could also qualify for SSDI.
This guide explores how disability benefits interact with self-employed people who run small businesses. Our SSDI benefits attorneys discuss qualifying criteria, the application process, how benefits are calculated, and how we can help you navigate this complex legal landscape.
How Do I Qualify for SSDI Benefits as a Self-Employed Business Owner?
Qualifying for SSDI benefits as a business owner in North Carolina requires that you meet specific criteria, some of which include:
- You have earned enough social security credits from your employment, which can vary, depending on your situation.
- You have a qualifying health condition lasting more than 12 months or that is terminal
- You do not run the business for more than 45 hours per month
- You are unable to “engage in substantial gainful activity” (SGA)
- Your monthly income is less than a certain amount
- Your work does not qualify as SGA
- You contribute less than half the time required to run your business
It can be challenging to understand how these terms apply to your circumstances and what this means regarding the benefits you are entitled to receive. Our team can review your case for free to determine whether you qualify for SSDI benefits as a business owner. If you already receive benefits, we can help assess your income and business activities to ensure you maintain your eligibility.
How Do I Apply for SSDI as a Business Owner in North Carolina?
When applying for SSDI, you have the right to seek help from a legal representative to assist with the process. The filing process can be complicated and rigid, so it does not take much for the SSA to delay or deny applications. Applying for SSDI requires you to:
- Meet the qualifying criteria
- Complete all forms accurately
- Collect the necessary medical and general evidence
- File your claim with the SSA office
Our Social Security Disability attorneys can assist you with your application and are always available to answer your questions. This way, you will know what to expect from the claim process and have the peace of mind that your initial application is completed accurately and supported with the appropriate information and evidence.
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What Happens if the SSA Rejects my Application for SSDI?
Having your claim rejected by the SSA does not mean this is the end of the line for your application, as you have the legal right to appeal a denial. According to recent government data from USA Facts, only 38% of initial applications for SSDI are approved. Claims can be rejected for many reasons. However, some of the most common reasons include:
- Lack of medical evidence or other supporting documentation
- Earning too much income to qualify
- Not having enough work credits
- Medical conditions or impairments deemed not severe enough to meet the SSAs qualifying criteria
- Lack of communication from the applicant
- Failing to attend mandatory medical examinations required by the SSA
- Failing to follow prescribed medical treatment plans
- Criminal convictions
- Disabilities based on drug or alcohol addiction
- Fraudulent applications
The Stages of Appeal
If the SSA denies your claim, you have 60 days to appeal. It is generally better to appeal the decision rather than submit a new application as it can save time, especially if the problem is easily rectified, such as submitting missing information. Appealing a denial can involve the following stages:
- Reconsideration stage. Your case and any new evidence are reviewed to check whether the denial was inappropriately or mistakenly administered.
- Hearing before an Administrative Judge (ALJ). The ALJ will decide to uphold or overturn the SSAs decision.
- The Appeals Council. They decide whether decisions about your claim have been made in accordance with federal law.
- Federal court. If you still need to appeal, we can help you to file a lawsuit in a federal district court, where it will be reviewed by a federal judge who will decide on your case.
We focus our skills, experience, resources, and determination on helping clients with the appeals process and obtaining the benefits they are entitled to receive.
Contact Our Social Security Benefits Team for Your Consultation
The Social Security Disability lawyers at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC recognize the effort and dedication it takes to build a business while living with a disability and how important SSDI benefits are to your continued health and well-being. As such, you can depend on the resilience of our SSDI attorneys, who work hard to get you the benefits you deserve.
If you need help applying for SSDI benefits as a business owner, have had your claim denied by the SSA, or would like to know more about your legal options, contact our team for your consultation. Learn more about how we can help you, today.