You can file for social security disability benefits under certain medical conditions. The Social Security Administration (SSA) accepts claims for terminal illness, as well as for illnesses expected to last longer than a year. The SSA’s main qualifying criterion is that your medical condition prevents you from gainful employment.
You’ll need to submit quite a bit of background information in support of your claim: social security number (SSN), date of birth and birthplace, proof of US citizenship in the form of an original birth certificate, or some other identification (or lawful alien status). You’ll need to submit names, SSN, ages, and birthdates of all spouses and minor or dependent children.
The SSA will need details about your earnings in the form of a W-2 or tax returns going back as long as you’ve worked.
You will also have to provide detailed information about your medical condition, including doctors’ information, records of doctor and hospital visits, treatment dates, medical tests performed, and a list of your current medications and the doctors who prescribed them.
The application can be filled out online or mailed. The SSA then performs its review. The majority of the time, SSA sends your case for a review. In North Carolina, that review is done by the North Carolina Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state government office funded by the federal DDS office. Most claims are processed through a local state office like this.
The North Carolina office will do your SSD case review, starting with verification of your non-medical eligibility first, including your current Social Security status, employment history and marital status. The next step of the SSD case review is review of the medical records you provided. As part of this SSD case review, North Carolina will compile medical evidence to support your claim. If they feel you provided insufficient evidence, they will likely arrange for either your doctor or their own independent doctor to obtain the additional information.
After all evidence is considered, the North Carolina DDS will make an initial disability determination. If the SSD case review states that your claim is accepted, the SSA will calculate your benefits and start payout. If your claim was denied, the SSD case review file is kept in the North Carolina office.
Approximately two-thirds of first-time applicants are denied the first time, mainly due to lack of medical evidence or failure to tie medical evidence to an inability to work. The SSA does have an appeal process which the North Carolina DDS will also handle.
Because so many first time claims are denied, it is a good idea to hire an experienced law firm like ours. We can help you file your claim, or if you’ve been denied, we can help you achieve a successful outcome during the appeal process.