It is unfortunately common for Shelby, North Carolina residents to experience a delay or denial when filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits. Receiving a denial can complicate your case and raise the possibility of having to prove the existence or extent of your disability.
If you find yourself in this situation, we want to help. When you work with a Shelby Social Security Disability lawyer from our office, you can trust that we understand the complexities of these claims and that we can do everything possible to make the process easier to move through.
Understanding And Utilizing The SSD Benefit Process
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits provide financial support for qualifying people with a medical condition that prevents them from working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) typically bases qualification on work history or income level criteria.
Although SSD benefits make life easier for those struggling with a disability, filing a claim can become quite complicated. Minor errors or improper paperwork filing can lead to claim denial. Obtaining information on the process and reaching out for assistance from our team when needed can prevent mistakes.
Options To Apply For Social Security Disability
There are four ways to apply for Social Security Disability benefits in Shelby:
- Call and speak to a local representative on the phone.
- Visit your local Social Security office if you would prefer to speak to someone face-to-face.
- Apply online. This option is available only in certain cases, such as if you have not been denied in the past two months.
- Work with a lawyer who can walk you through the process from start to finish.
Your application must meet criteria regarding income level and employment credits before it is eligible for submission to Disability Determination Services (DDS) (under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services). This agency determines if you have a qualifying disability.
Qualifying Disabilities And Conditions
Receiving benefits requires having a condition that the SSA recognizes as a disability. Qualifying conditions either threaten your life or have prevented (or will prevent) you from working for a minimum of one year. They include, but are not limited to, disorders in these categories:
- Respiratory, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis
- Cardiovascular, such as chronic heart failure or aortic aneurysm
- Digestive, such as chronic liver disease or renal failure
- Neurological, such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis
- Cancer, such as lymphoma, leukemia, or melanoma
- Immune system, such as lupus, HIV, or inflammatory arthritis
You will need to undergo a medical assessment for your qualifying condition. During this assessment, a medical professional will evaluate how your disability has affected your life by:
- Determining the severity and duration of your condition
- Analyzing how it has affected your ability to work
- Reviewing diagnostic test results
- Rating your ability to perform specific physical or mental tasks
Since the qualifying process requires precise documentation and evidence, you can consult a Social Security Disability attorney from our firm before filing a claim. Throughout the consultation, you receive information regarding the various SSD benefits for which you might qualify. Also, we can help you identify and implement the next steps if your claim is denied.
What You Need To Know About SSDI And SSI Benefits
There are two types of Social Security Disability. Each has its own distinct set of requirements, so it is very important that you understand the difference between them before trying to apply.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI is intended for those with limited income and resources. To qualify, your household resources must be below the allowed threshold (often either $2,000 or $3,000, depending on your marital status) and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- You are retirement age or older
- You are a blind or disabled adult
- You have a blind or disabled child
Since the SSA bases its decisions on your income and resources, your application could include what you receive for wages or salary, pensions, stocks, or real estate. Our team can explain what counts as income in your case to determine how this will affect your qualification.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Americans who become disabled and have a verifiable work history can receive coverage based on what they paid into Social Security during their career. The benefits function like traditional insurance and could also include coverage for dependents, such as spouses and children.
To be eligible for SSDI, the applicant must:
- Have worked consistently for at least five out of the ten years that precede the disability
- Have paid enough into Social Security during their working life to qualify for benefits
- Be diagnosed with a long-term or terminal disability that will prevent them from working for at least a year
Benefits For A Disabled Adult Child (DAC)
Disabled claimants could qualify for benefits based on a parent’s work record. However, to receive these benefits, a DAC must be able to provide that their disability began before age 22, and mee at least one of the following criteria:
- Have a parent who is currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits
- Have a parent who is currently receiving SSD benefits
- Have a parent who is deceased
Benefits For A Disabled Widow Or Widower (DWB)
If a widow or widower is over the age of 50 and disability develops within seven years of their spouse’s death, they could be eligible for benefits. Additional eligibility criteria for DWB benefits include that the widow or widower’s marriage to the deceased spouse lasted for at least ten years.
How Our Legal Team Could Help You In Shelby
Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can navigate the complexities claimants may experience when applying for benefits. A Social Security Disability lawyer from our Shelby office can provide you with compassionate yet aggressive representation that may make your experience easier.
Our team takes your concerns to heart and makes it our mission to alleviate any worries you are feeling. When you work with a lawyer from our team, we may serve you by:
- Researching your medical history and examining current medical records to determine how and if your condition qualifies you for benefits
- Determining which type of benefits (SSI versus SSDI) you should apply for
- Proving that you have a qualifying disability by collecting all pertinent documentation and other evidence
- Collecting and compiling all necessary documentation to file a claim, including filling out paperwork on your behalf
- Ensuring the claim is filed correctly and on time
- Filing an appeal for benefits if the claim is denied
- Handling relevant communications with the Social Security Administration, as well as other interested parties
- Representing you at hearings or court proceedings, as necessary
Overcoming hurdles during the claims process can be exhausting. However, when you work with a lawyer at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, you do not have to struggle alone. We dedicate ourselves to our clients.
Preventing And Helping With Claim Denials
Due to the stringent requirements for claims applications, many clients find their biggest concern is avoiding a claim denial. Although a denial does not mean the end of the road for you, we can work to help you avoid some of the common mistakes, including:
- Underestimating or overestimating your symptoms
- Not providing sufficient medical evidence
- Offering irrelevant information
- Mistakes or errors on the form
- Issues with the doctor who performed your assessment
- Missing filing deadlines for initial claims or appeals
- Applying for the wrong type of benefits
- Receiving unemployment benefits while applying
Many of these mistakes result from ignorance of the process or honest mistakes. Unfortunately, the system leaves little leeway for small errors or lack of knowledge. Fortunately, our disability attorneys are familiar with the expectations, restrictions, and timelines for SSDI and SSI claims.
Moreover, we can still step in, even if the SSA has already denied your claim because of these or other errors. So, don’t assume you’re out of luck and make the mistake of filing a new claim without appealing an old one. The high initial denial rate means your experience is not out of the ordinary, and you do have recourse.
Making Things Easier
Our firm does more than just prevent or address common mistakes. We stand ready to guide you through the process and overcome any hurdles you might encounter. After you contact our office and we review your case, we work hard to protect your rights.
Just as important, however, is ensuring your comfort with the process by:
- Being available to answer whatever questions you have
- Explaining your options and advising you about which option may be most beneficial for you
- Contacting you after every major development, so you do not have to worry if things are happening without you
- Supporting you every step of the way, including through the appeals process
About The Social Security Disability Application Process
In addition to disability qualifications and possible application errors, other factors could affect your case’s complexity and chances for success. These factors include the effects of worker’s compensation, concurrent claims, and more. If you are unsure about how your circumstances affect your eligibility, our team would be more than happy to address your concerns.
Even if your work-related injury qualifies you for workers’ compensation benefits, you can still apply for Social Security Disability benefits. As soon as any injury or illness leads you to develop a disability, you can file a claim for SSDI. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can help you navigate this scenario.
The SSA explains how some situations could allow a claimant to file for concurrent benefits. When that occurs, the SSA determines if the claimant qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance in addition to Supplemental Security Income benefits. SSA bases this decision on the claimant’s income and assets.
For example, if your claim is denied and you want to file an appeal, you must do so within a certain number of days after receiving the denial. Missing this or any other deadline could jeopardize your claim or even force you to start over again.
Speak To Us Today To Learn More About Social Security Disability
Suffering from a disability can be physically and emotionally frustrating and can come with additional financial burdens. When you work with a Social Security Disability lawyer from our Shelby office, we fight hard for the benefits you need and deserve. Contact Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, today so that we can evaluate your case for free today.