The process of filing or appealing an application for Social Security Disability benefits presents many challenges. Our law firm helps clients in Lincoln County and throughout North Carolina prepare their applications and fight denials so they can receive the financial assistance they need.
When you hire Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, we assign a Lincoln County Social Security Disability lawyer from our office to handle all aspects of your case. We help by discussing your options, collecting and submitting evidence, and verifying that all of your paperwork is completed correctly. You can call for a free consultation.
Understanding Social Security Disability
The term “Social Security Disability” refers not to one program, but two. Each has a distinct set of requirements and standards that applicants must meet, so it is vital to understand the difference between them before you apply.
This is only a general overview of the programs; a member of our team can provide more detailed information that pertains specifically to you and your needs.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Per the Social Security Administration (SSA), to receive SSDI benefits, you must:
- Have a work history that qualifies you for benefits (the specifics depend on your age, among other things)
- Have a condition that meets their definition of “disabled”
- Be unable to work at the same job you used to do
- Be unable to work any job earning more than the current substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount, which is $1,350 a month gross in 2022
In some cases, applicants with qualifying medical conditions can file based on the work records of a deceased spouse, or a parent may apply on behalf of their child. However, this program requires most claimants to have a work history and to have paid into Social Security. This is how this program is funded. Applicants must have paid in enough to qualify for benefits or meet an exception and have a family member who did.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Those applying for SSI also have to be disabled – unless they are over retirement age – according to the SSA. In addition, minor children could receive SSI benefits if their disability remains severe enough to meet the qualifications set for children.
Senior and/or disabled individuals can apply for SSI if they:
- Have a limited income and a limited ability to work, meeting strict income requirements
- Do not have other monetary resources on which they can depend (such as other government benefits or real estate holdings) and meet the asset requirements
- Have legal U.S. residency
Help for Blind Applicants
For Social Security purposes, blindness is treated differently than other types of disabilities. This may affect your eligibility for benefits. In some cases, you may be able to earn more and still qualify for benefits or receive additional benefits. We can go over these differences with you during your free consultation.
Applying for Benefits with Our Social Security Disability Lawyer’s Help
Our team of Social Security Disability attorneys works with clients to ensure their claim is prepared properly and submitted with the necessary information. We can help with your application for SSDI or SSI. We can also assess if you may qualify for both programs.
The process of filing for Social Security Disability programs may include some or all of the following steps, depending on how your case progresses.
- Determining eligibility: When we discuss your case with you, we can explain if you qualify for SSDI or SSI.
- Collecting required documentation: The SSA will want to see a great deal of evidence regarding your medical, employment, and residential history. We can help you determine what information to include, as well as what documents you may need and how to get them.
- Submitting documentation: Once we have worked together to acquire proper evidence, we can send it out to the right place at the right time. This could include documents for your initial application, a request for more evidence, or an appeal.
- Applying for benefits: Our team can ensure you submit your case with all necessary information and no mistakes.
- Appealing your case: If your case does not end the way you want, our team can act quickly to file an appeal and convince the SSA to reconsider or have an Administrative Law Judge look at your claim.
When we represent you, our attorneys work hard to complete all of these steps on your behalf. As Lavonda, one of our former clients, put it, “I was treated as if I was the only client” by the team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC.
Our Attorneys Want to Serve You
The Social Security Disability lawyers at our office serve Lincoln County, North Carolina, among other locations. Our team can not only file the case on your behalf but we can also:
- Evaluate your case: It will cost you nothing to pick up the phone and speak with a member of our team about our services and get your free initial assessment.
- Stay in touch with you: Clients are free to call us with questions at any time. We will provide accurate answers as quickly as possible.
- Offer professional advice: It is easy to get emotional over Social Security cases and, as a result, to make poor decisions. We can offer a neutral perspective when you need it most.
- Update you regularly: When something important happens, we let you know right away. You do not ever have to wonder if things are happening in your case or worry we will do anything without your knowledge.
- Work based on contingency: Our attorneys serve clients with no upfront expenses. We receive payment of our fees based on the back pay we recover when we file and win an appeal for our clients. Your family will not need to pay anything.
Defining “Disability” According to the Social Security Administration
In order to be considered disabled, your medical condition or conditions must be severe enough to keep you from being able to perform work activities. Disability can be granted based on a number of conditions, including those on the following list—however, just having a diagnosis of these conditions is not enough.
You must show that your condition very seriously limits your ability to engage in work activity. Some examples of conditions that—if severe enough—may be considered disabling, are:
- A mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
- Heart disease or other cardiac conditions
- Respiratory problems
- Musculoskeletal issues, ranging from arthritis to quadriplegia
- A hearing impairment
- Skin conditions or burns
- Other conditions expected to last for a year or more or cause your death
These qualifications may be different for minors and those with vision impairment. There are also dozens of other physical and mental health conditions listed in the SSA’s impairment listings, known as The Blue Book. Each entry includes a detailed description of what is needed to qualify based on that condition.
Other Ways to Qualify
In addition, many people can get approved for SSDI or SSI without meeting the definition of “disabled” under an entry in The Blue Book. Instead, they qualify based on their residual functional capacity (RFC). This is an assessment of the claimant’s abilities despite their current health, including symptoms, pain, fatigue, medication side effects, and more.
If an RFC assessment finds they cannot work any job they may qualify for based on their age, training, and experience, they should receive approval for Social Security Disability.
Proving Your Disability
When you file your claim, the SSA usually requests contact information for your medical care providers and other clinics or facilities involved in your diagnosis, treatment, and care. It is imperative to complete all the blanks on the application fully and correctly.
If the disability determination examiner handling your claim cannot get the necessary evidence with the included information, they may ask you to attend a medical exam or provide additional support for your claim.
To prove that your condition meets the SSA’s standards, you must submit evidence such as:
- A statement from your doctor
- A statement from a doctor of the SSA’s choosing
- Personal testimony
- Statements from family, friends, or anyone else who knows you
- Medical records recording treatment for your condition
This is in addition to evidence regarding your work history and finances. It is critical to provide the SSA with all the information requested and evidence required; not doing so may lead to claim denial. Our attorneys at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, know exactly the types of documentation the SSA wants to see and can help you compile them.
We can also offer advice on how to approach your doctor about your intent to file for disability and how to handle a consultative exam if the SSA requests one. Our attorneys are here for our clients, providing support and assistance every step of the way.
Get Help with Your Social Security Disability Case
Getting the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve is not always as easy as it should be. Our lawyers at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, are proud to help people in Lincoln County and throughout North Carolina seek the benefits they need.
Call us at (828) 286-3866 to get started.