Social Security Disability

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Social security disability attorneys

When a person applies for Social Security benefits for the first time after they are no longer able to work due to a disability, they often do so without an attorney’s advice. In some cases, the benefits are denied entirely due to an error on the form or because the disabled individual does not fully understand the process of obtaining benefits. In other cases, a person may not understand the definition of disabled or how to fulfill earning requirements, which are set forth by the Social Security Administration.

If you have questions that need answering, feel free to contact our firm to speak with a Social Security Disability attorney about your particular case. In addition to handling cases involving Social Security Disability, we can also help clients in applying for Supplemental Security Income.

How Your Earnings Affect Social Security Disability

Impairment must be serious to qualify for benefits under the guidelines of the Social Security Administration. Any impairment must hinder the ability to perform and maintain gainful employment, and there is a minimum amount of money that someone has the right to earn on a yearly basis. This is set forth by the SSA. If you make above the minimum, you will not qualify for benefits. Along with this, any impairment must either:

  • Last at least a year
  • Have lasted at least a year
  • Will likely result in death

There are also other tests that determine whether or not a person qualifies for disability. Additionally, any applicant must have enough of a work history to qualify for Social Security benefits. In most cases, people must have worked a certain number of years recently.

When Should I File?

In order to qualify for benefits, a person must be disabled for a minimum of 12 months. It is because of this that one should not file right after they realize they cannot work—this makes it hard to prove that a disability will last for a year or longer. Receiving an initial decision can take several months, and the majority of cases are denied in the initial decision phase. Appeals cases can take up to one year or more, so it’s wise to start a claim as soon as possible.

A Federal Social Security Administration representative will review your application after it has been received. If all requirements are believed to have been met, it is then forwarded to a state agency. It is here that the decision will be made when it comes to the acceptance or denial of your claim. There is a five-step process used by Social Security that helps determine benefits. These factors are based around the following:

  • Is the person working?
  • Is the person’s condition severe enough to hinder their working ability?
  • Is the impairment one that is on a government list that grants automatic disability status?
  • Can the applicant perform the same work they had prior to the disability?
  • Are there any other jobs the applicant can perform?

When the state agency has made a decision, the file will then be returned to the Social Security Administration. The SSA will most likely agree with the decision of the state agency. After all other questions of eligibility have been answered, the decision will be mailed to the applicant.

Appealing a Denied Social Security Claim

Every applicant is able to appeal the decision that has been made. When an applicant first appeals, it is done in the form of reconsideration. A different person than when the initial claim was filed usually reviews all information. In many states, this step has been eliminated. This allows people to go straight to a formal hearing with a judge.

At this point, a person has the right to appeal again to the Social Security Appeals Council. If a denial is repeated, a person has the right to appeal in a federal court system, so it is a great asset to have an experienced Raleigh Social Security disability attorney on your side.

Contact Whitley Clark Attorneys At Law

At Whitley Clark our team of attorneys has decades of experience across the entire state of North Carolina. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you advocate for your rights.