If you’ve become disabled and are no longer able to work, your next step may be to file for Social Security Disability (SSD). The state of North Carolina has about 200,000 individuals who receive Social Security Disability benefits.
SSD was created for people who have worked, and have earned credits toward the program. As a rule, you must have a medical condition that prevents you from performing work that is considered “substantial gainful activity,” will last at least twelve months.
Qualifying For SSD
Workers earn “credits” for the dollar amounts they’ve earned over a year’s period, earning one credit for every $1,360 earned (in 2019.) The maximum earning is four credits per year. These are paid through FICA taxed deducted from worker’s paychecks. The credits needed for eligibility depend on your age and how much you’ve earned and worked.
If you do not have enough work credits, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which are for those with a very low income. There is no work requirement.
You’ll also need to know if your condition is in the Social Security Disability List of Impairments. If it isn’t, getting SSD is still a possibility, but may take a little more work. Currently listed impairments include:
However, conditions that are not in the Schedule of Listings, such as migraine headaches, can also be a disability condition if they are severe enough to prevent someone from working and are medically documented.
The first step is to get a diagnosis from your doctor, as well as a determination into whether or not your medical condition meets the criteria for the condition. If you haven’t been seeing a doctor for your condition, now is the time to start.
The listings also indicate the diagnostic testing you need to have as part of your determination. Although the Social Security Administration will pay for a consultative exam, your claim will take longer if they do. It’s better to have your doctor order and run the required tests so that you can check to see if your condition and results meet the listing’s criteria. If they are close to the listing’s requirements, or if they match, you can proceed.
Filing The Application
Before you file your claim, gather up all of your medical records and pertinent information that you’ll need to support your claim of disability. Include doctor’s notes, diagnoses, diagnostics such as blood test results, EKG, MRIs, X-Rays, noted limitations, and other relevant information that is supportive of your case. You’ll also need names, addresses and contact information for all of your doctors and healthcare facilities who have treated you for the past five years.
You have three options for filing:
Of course, you must be patient. Social Security isn’t known for it’s expedience, and they turn down about 70% of applications on the first submission.
If you need help filing a claim, or need help with appealing the Administration’s decision, consider contacting a law office that specializes in SSD assistance.
Get Help With Your Social Security Disability Application
For more than ten years, Clauson Law has helped the disabled with both their SSD application and appeals, all the way through federal court. Each case is unique, and that’s why we focus on helping our clients through the maze of the application and appeals process.