3 Common Questions about North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits (For Caregivers)
Posted on October 2017
Are you the child or spouse of someone stricken with an illness or injury and who needs to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in North Carolina?
Most online resources focus on what applicants need to do to ensure approval during the application process. But often it’s the caregivers who do the lion’s share of work, which includes helping applicants fill out forms, manage finances, rides to and from medical appointments, and much more.
This puts a lot of pressure on caregivers who might not have experience dealing with the intricacies of a Social Security Disability claim.
If you’ve got questions about applying for Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina, DeMayo Law Offices may be able to help.
For now, here are three common questions (and answers!) that will give caregivers, friends, and family a head-start on the SSD application process.
Question #1 What should I help manage regarding my relative or friend’s application for Social Security Disability benefits?
There are a lot of hoops to jump through on the road to SSD benefits, and there are certain tasks that would benefit from a caregiver’s direct help during the initial application process.
For example, applicants are required to collect various medical records and supplementary documents indicating the nature of an injury or disability. In many cases, applicants will need to visit the doctor frequently for checkups, exams, and medication refills, which is often challenging for a disabled or injured person to do alone.
Missing medical appointments or not collecting the necessary documentation to complete the application will only hurt an applicant’s chances of approval—even done correctly, the odds of getting approved after the initial application are only about 1 in 3.
Be prepared to ensure every doctor appointment is kept and every medical record is available for the application. Make the effort up front to avoid a lengthy appeals process.
Question #2 If my relative or friend’s application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, what should I do?
Nearly two-thirds of all SSD applicants in North Carolina are denied after the initial application process. If your relative or friend’s application has been denied, this does not mean he or she is unable to collect benefits. Instead, the applicant’s claim will move to the first phase of the appeals process, called a request for reconsideration.
Caregivers should know that a request for reconsideration must be filed within 60 days of the denial letter. Unfortunately, the approval rating at this phase of the appeals process is fairly low and the time it takes to receive a new decision is lengthy; but not as time consuming as the second phase of appeals, which involves a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The appeals process can go all the way to federal court in rare cases, but most claims usually won’t go this far in the appeals process.
What’s important to remember is this: claims that go through the appeals process can be challenging to overturn and they waste a lot of time and resources. Caretakers should avoid the appeals process to ensure timely financial relief.
Question #3 What’s the best way to avoid the appeals process in North Carolina?
Most claimants can’t wait to receive financial benefits. Medical bills and lost earnings add up quickly and often exasperate the circumstances of those already injured or disabled.
The best way to ensure approval during the initial application process is to work with a professional that understands SSD benefits and the process.
Many applications are denied because of technical errors, missing or incorrect documentation, and the paperwork only gets more complicated if a claim is appealed. Conversely, a Social Security benefits lawyer employs a team of people to help make sure the initial application is accurate and complete, and they’ll be a family’s legal advocate in the event of appeal.
At DeMayo Law Offices, we sympathize with caregivers, and we work hand-in-hand with families to try to ensure the best results for injured or disabled individuals. If you or someone you know is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, we’re here to help.