Becoming disabled is something no-one anticipates, but it’s more common than you may think. A 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age, according to research—which is why Social Security disability benefits exist.
Disability can be frightening on so many levels—but your concerns about supporting yourself and providing for your family can be alleviated by the benefits competent social security and disability lawyers can help you recover.
If you find yourself unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, you are eligible to apply for Social Security disability benefits under Federal law. These benefits can ease your mind as well as your financial situation.
Why you should file for Social Security disability benefits
Some people who qualify for Social Security benefits—even when they have a disability lawyer available to help them—make a common mistake.
The mistake? Not filing for benefits.
If you haven’t filed for benefits yet, do your reasons sound like these?
- “I don’t need them—I have family support.”
- “I’m not going on a welfare program.”
- “I know my disability won’t be permanent.”
- “I’m not giving up on my life.”
- “I’m going to work through this on my own.”
- “I’ll never get them, so why bother? ”
Know this: if you don’t file for benefits now, but decide to at a later date, your benefits could be affected by your lack of earnings between the start of your disability and the filing of your claim.
Additionally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) only pays retroactive benefits 12 months prior to filing. So if you file your claim after waiting more than a year after becoming disabled, you lose money you were entitled to receive.
Plus, once you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) freezes your earnings, so the years during which you’re disabled don’t count against you in retirement. This protects you, your family and anyone you support.
Lastly: these are benefits you’ve paid for with your FICA taxes for as long as you’ve been earning. This isn’t welfare, or a handout. You’ve earned these benefits. Don’t dismiss your right to claim them.
Call (919) 775-5653 or contact us and set up a consultation to speak with one of our experienced social security and disability lawyers about your case.
What are the requirements to claim Social Security disability benefits?
Disability benefit requirements are based upon two different earning tests:
- A recent work test based on your age at the time you became disabled
- A duration of work test that shows how long you’ve worked under Social Security before you became disabled
A disability lawyer can walk you through these tests, which you can also view at www.socialsecurity.gov.
What do I need to know about filing a Social Security disability claim?
In the state of North Carolina, initial Social Security disability claims can take between 30 and 120 days to receive a decision. However, if you have not heard about your claim within 30 days, get the status of your claim—don’t simply assume your decision is running late.
Fail to follow up on your case and you could find that your case has been denied, and that you’ve simply not received your official denial notice—or worse, that 65-day period for filing an appeal has run out. Proactively checking the status of your claim will help you avoid missing your chance to appeal.
What if I’ve already filed a claim, and it’s been denied?
Unbelievably, SSA only approves about 30% of initial Social Security disability claims on average. However, if you have the will to appeal, you’ll find that your odds improve significantly.
If your Social Security disability claim has been denied, you must follow up with an appeal within 65 days—that means 60 days, allowing five days for mailing and transfer—from the date on your notice.
You can appeal the initial decision in several stages, beginning with a reconsideration appeal. Your disability lawyer can help you prepare and submit additional medical records that may strengthen your case—and give SSA a reason to reevaluate its initial determination.
Following the reconsideration appeal, if there is one, your case will be submitted to an administrative law judge (ALJ) who will conduct an informal, non-adversarial hearing where you and your social security and disability lawyers can present your testimony and evidence.
Approximately 60% of previously denied claims are granted by the ALJ. But if this does not occur, you can submit your case to the Appeals Council, and even file an appeal in federal court if necessary.
What will it cost to file a claim or appeal?
It will not cost you anything to come in for a consultation about the best way to get you the Social Security disability benefits that you qualify for. And if your claim has already been denied, your chances of success will greatly improve if you hire a lawyer.
At Wilson, Reives & Silverman, PLLC, we only get paid if you win your case.
How do I begin filing a claim or an appeal?
Social Security disability claim applications require a great deal of personal information, most of which deals with your medical condition and work history. Before filing your claim, you should be ready to provide a detailed description of any and all doctors and care providers, your medications, and the results of any relevant lab tests. SSA will also ask about previous jobs, and request copies of the applicant’s W-2s and tax returns.
The social security and disability lawyers at Wilson, Reives & Silverman are here to provide you with trusted, effective legal counsel. We’ll focus on your claim, helping you navigate the rulings of the Social Security Administration and ensuring that any previously denied claims have the best chance of being granted.