If you can’t work because you have a disability and need help applying for benefits, contact the DeMayo Law Offices. We can file a claim on your behalf or assist you in appealing a denied claim. Our team of experienced professionals has the resources, knowledge, and skills to handle your case effectively and ensure you receive the benefit payments you need from the Social Security Administration.
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSD, is a government program that provides payments to people who are disabled and unable to maintain gainful employment. It’s a crucial insurance benefit for you and your family that could help you pay for daily expenses and enable you to get medical treatment for your injury.
When you apply, there’s a specific procedure you need to follow and deadlines you can’t miss. Our North Carolina social security disability lawyers understand the regulations issued by the SSA and how to pursue claims effectively.
SSD is for workers who paid into Social Security. When an injury, illness, or disability limits an individual’s ability to work, SSD is available to those who qualify.
Do You Qualify for SSD?
The evaluation process follows strict criteria to determine an applicant’s eligibility. For example, the type of disability must be included in the Social Security Administration’s List of Impairments.
Types of disability in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders: spine disorders, amputation(s), major fractures, osteoarthritis, etc.
- Special senses and speech disorders: blindness, hearing loss, or loss of speech due to any cause
- Respiratory disorders: chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, lung transplantation, etc.
- Cardiovascular disorders: chronic heart failure, recurrent arrhythmias, heart transplant, etc.
- Digestive disorders: gastrointestinal hemorrhage, liver dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), etc.
- Genitourinary system disorders: kidney disease, kidney transplant, etc.
- Skin disorders: Ichthyosis, dermatitis, burns, etc.
- Neurological disorders: epilepsy, parkinsonian syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), etc.
- Mental disorders: There are currently 11 categories of mental disorders. Click here for a complete list.
- Cancer: lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc.
- Immune system disorders: lupus, systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), inflammatory arthritis, etc.
Disability evaluation is a complex process that involves multiple agencies, medical professionals, and sometimes an administrative law judge should a claim determination be disputed.
If you’re unable to work because of an illness, injury, or disability, you may be entitled to SSD.
At the DeMayo Law Offices, we understand how important SSD payments can be for injured workers and their families. And we’re proud to support members of our community in Charlotte, Hickory, Monroe, and other nearby areas in North Carolina.
North Carolina’s Disability Backlog
According to the Social Security Administration, 5.6 percent of North Carolina’s population receive social security disability payments.
Unfortunately, there are only a handful of social security administrative law judges overseeing thousands of disability claims.
North Carolina applicants wait, on average, more than 20 months to receive a hearing. And about 50 percent of all initial disability claims are denied.
Rejected claims are extremely common and usually the result of missing records, improper filling, or lack of legal advocacy.
In many cases, people are initially rejected and forced to appeal the decision several times before their disability claim is approved. This can result in significant financial strain for injured workers and their families.
If your claim is denied, you can request a hearing with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). There are four North Carolina offices located in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Fayetteville.
The appeals process can take years to complete and may require the review of medical records to show that the disability does, in fact, prevent you from earning a livable income.
To expedite the appeals process, it’s best to contact an experienced social security disability attorney in North Carolina.
Do you need help applying for SSD? Call DeMayo Law Offices today at 877-529-1222.
Social Security Disability Payments Explained
SSD benefits are earned through payroll tax contributions. Your personal contributions are calculated into credits, and credits are used to calculate eligibility and payment amounts.
Employees can earn up to four credits per year or one credit per quarter. There are three eligibility requirements to collect social security disability:
- The worker must be disabled for five months prior to applying for SSD;
- Employees must have between 6 and 40 earned credits (depending on age); and
- The worker needs to have earned at least 20 credits within 40 calendar quarters that ends when the disability began.
If your application is accepted, you will receive disability payments beginning from the time you first became disabled.
SSD payments are calculated based on a worker’s previous earnings, or the average indexed monthly earnings (AIME): this calculation is an average of the worker’s income throughout employment history.
Eligible workers receive benefits equal to the primary insurance amount (PIA). PIA is adjusted annually per changes to the national wage average and the consumer price index.
In 2017, the average SSD recipient received $1,171 per month or about $14,000 a year.
Click here for answers to other common questions about SSD.
What’s Supplemental Security Income?
In rare cases, SSD applicants may also be eligible for Supplementary Security Income (SSI). Unlike SSD, SSI is a needs-based program. SSD applicants may be eligible for SSI if they qualify for SSD and receive low monthly payments.
To qualify for supplemental security income benefits, you must be at least 65 years of age, blind, or disabled, and have a limited income, limited resources, and be a U.S. citizen or naturalized citizen of the United States.
A qualifying disability for SSI is a mental or physical impairment that:
- Causes an inability to maintain gainful employment; and
- Will probably result in death; or
- Lasted or could last continually for at least twelve months.
Children could receive SSI benefits if they have a physical or mental impairment that:
- Results in severe limitations; and
- Will probably cause death; or
- Lasted or could last for a minimum of twelve consecutive months.
Eligibility mostly depends on a person’s income. If your income is too high, your benefits could get reduced, or your claim for SSI benefits could get denied. The Social Security Administration determines your total income from different sources, such as:
- Earned income: Wages, specific royalties and honoraria, net earnings from being self-employed, and sheltered workshop payments.
- Unearned income: Income you didn’t earn, such as pensions, unemployment benefits, interest income, Social Security benefits, state disability payments, and cash your friends or family gifted to you.
- In-kind income: Shelter or food given to you for free or less than the fair market value.
- Deemed income: The income of your live-in spouse, live-in parent, or a sponsor (if you’re an alien).
Factors that don’t count as income include:
- Income tax refunds
- The first $20 of your monthly income
- Food stamps
- Shelter provided by a nonprofit organization
- Loans you have to repay
- Most home energy assistance programs, such as National Grid
- Small amounts of irregular income
Limited resources refer to various assets that are worth less than $2,000 if you’re an individual and less than $3,000 for a couple. Eligible assets include:
- Personal property
- Bank accounts, U.S. savings bonds, and stocks
- Life insurance
- Possessions you can use for food or shelter, or that you could convert to cash
Reasons Your Social Security Disability Was Denied
The reasons the Social Security Administration denies claims for SSDI could vary from one claim to another. However, there are five major reasons they might issue a denial. These include:
1. Lack of medical evidence
You must submit substantial medical evidence that you have a disability and can’t maintain employment in any type of job. If your doctor’s medical records don’t include information about your specific disability you’re claiming you have, your claim could get denied. You should include a physician note detailing your disabling condition and why it prevents you from returning to work.
2. Previously denied claim
Many people will resubmit their original claim if they receive a denial letter. The Social Security Administration office will likely look at it and automatically deny it because they’ll see that you already tried to apply before. Instead of resubmitting your application, you should go through the appeals process.
3. Failure to follow treatment plans
Your doctor will refer you for specific treatment you will need for your injury or illness. If you don’t follow their orders, the person reviewing your application will assume your injury isn’t real. Undergoing medical evaluations and treatment from different doctors provide a record of your injury and how you manage your symptoms. Without medical records, the Social Security Administration representative won’t be able to confirm the disability you have and how it affects your daily life.
4. Your income
If you’re applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits, you need to earn below a certain amount to qualify. If you earn above the limit or can work part-time, you won’t be able to collect payments.
5. Failure to cooperate with the SSDI representative
Even if you don’t like the person handling your claim or don’t want to deal with the different steps of the procedure, you should still speak to them regularly and do what they ask. Submit documentation they request, return their calls, and show up for independent medical exams they require you to attend.
Find Out How DeMayo Law Offices Can Help You with your SSDI Benefit Claim
At the DeMayo Law Offices, we care about our clients. We dedicate our time, attention, and resources to disabled individuals who can’t earn a living to support themselves and their families. When you hire us, we’ll make sure that you’re a priority. We’ll diligently work on your case and fight hard to secure the benefits you rightfully deserve.
We understand the financial and emotional strain this type of situation can cause. We will provide you with the legal services you need to ensure you receive benefits for your disability. We can handle every step of the process from filing the claim to confirming when you can expect to receive payments.
We take cases on contingency, so you don’t have to worry about the additional financial burden of hiring an attorney. We don’t expect any upfront fees or costs while we’re working on your case. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.
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