4 Common Caregiver Questions about North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits
Are you the child or spouse of someone with a debilitating illness or injury? Does he or she need to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in North Carolina?
Not only does caretaking require time and energy but also financial stability. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration offers disability benefits to individuals who cannot work due to disability or illness. As a caregiver, these funds can be used to pay for their medical bills, living arrangements or even food.
While most online resources provide guidance for applicants to ensure approval, caregivers are the ones who often bear the heavy burden of helping applicants complete forms, organize finances, and manage medical care.
If you have questions about applying for SSD benefits in North Carolina, Campbell & Associates’ Social Security Disability lawyers may be able to help. Contact us at 704-333-0885 or schedule a free consultation today.
In the meantime, here are three common questions asked by caregivers, friends, and family and the answers you need to help an applicant get ahead on their SSD application.
How do I know whether my relative or friend’s disability is eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?
Unfortunately, not everyone who becomes injured qualifies for SSD benefits. Like many other government benefits, there are specific criteria that must be met before being given eligibility. To qualify, they must have worked in a profession covered by social security and then developed a medical condition that can be defined as a “disability.”
Defining a “disability” under social security laws can be extremely complicated. The applicant must be unable to do their previous work, unable to adjust to a new form of work and have an injury or condition expected to last for at least a year or result in death.
How can I help my relative or friend be successful in their application for Social Security Disability benefits?
The initial application process for SSD benefits can present a number of hurdles and tasks that you can help them complete, particularly if the applicant is not mentally or physically able to apply on their own.
For example, the Social Security Administration requires that a large amount of documentation be submitted along with the initial application. You will first need to collect past and current medical records. These may include documentation of the applicant’s diagnosis, treatments, response to treatments, hospitalizations, and medical tests that indicate the nature of the injury or disability.
In many cases, frequent checkups, exams, and medication refills require the dedicated assistance of a caregiver. Missing these medical appointments or failing to collect the medical documentation will only put the applicant at a disadvantage—even in the best of circumstances, around 70 percent of social security claims are denied each year.
Help manage the continued medical care of the applicant by keeping every doctor’s appointment and ensuring that all medical records are available for the application. This effort may help prevent the need to go through the long appeals process.
What should I do if my relative or friend’s application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied?
If an applicant’s Social Security Disability claim is denied, they’re not alone. According to the Annual Statistical Report of the Social Security Program, around two-thirds of all SSD applicants in North Carolina are denied after the initial application process.
But just because they have been denied doesn’t mean that he or she will be unable to collect benefits. Instead, the applicant’s claim moves to the first level of appeal, called a request for reconsideration.
Caregivers should note that applicants have 60 days to file a request for reconsideration following the denial letter. Unfortunately, only 5 to 10 percent of all reconsideration claims are approved, and applicants will move to a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Although cases can move to a federal court review, about 67 percent of disability applicants will actually win their appeal before an administrative law judge.
At every level of appeal, a Social Security Disability lawyer can increase your chances of success, but it’s best if caregivers help applicants avoid the appeals process entirely.
How can I help my relative or friend avoid the appeals process in North Carolina?
Many applicants are denied following the initial application because of insufficient medical evidence, technical errors on the application, or failure to follow their prescribed medical treatment. Unfortunately, the appeals paperwork is even more complicated and technical than the initial application.
The best way to ensure approval during the initial application process is to work with a Social Security benefits lawyer who can serve as a guide throughout the process. They assume the responsibility of making sure that an application is entirely accurate and complete and will act as a family’s legal advocate in the case of an appeal.
At Campbell & Associates, we understand that most SSD applicants cannot wait for financial benefits as medical bills continue to build. Our Social Security Disability lawyers strive to work with both caregivers and applicants to get the financial support needed for injured or disabled individuals. If you or someone you know is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, call us today for a free consultation at 704-333-0885 or reach us online for a free case evaluation.