Charlotte SSDI Lawyers
Let Our Firm Help You Obtain SSDI Benefits
Are you or a loved one facing challenges in obtaining Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits in Charlotte, NC? Lanier Law Group, P.A. is here to help. With a team of experienced SSDI lawyers dedicated to serving the residents of Charlotte and surrounding areas, we are committed to assisting individuals navigate the complexities of the SSDI claims process.
What is SSDI?
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability. Administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), SSDI is a vital safety net for individuals facing long-term disabilities that prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, individuals must meet specific criteria established by the Social Security Administration. Here are the key qualifications:
- Work Credits: SSDI is an insurance program that requires applicants to have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits. Work credits are earned based on the individual's work history and payment of Social Security taxes. The number of work credits needed depends on the age of the individual at the time of disability. In general, applicants must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain number of years.
- Disability Status: To qualify for SSDI, individuals must have a qualifying disability as defined by the Social Security Administration. The disability must be severe enough to prevent the individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SSA follows a strict definition of disability, considering conditions that are expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
- Medical Evidence: Applicants are required to provide comprehensive medical evidence that supports their disability claim. This may include medical records, test results, doctor's statements, and other relevant documentation. The medical evidence should demonstrate the severity of the disability and its impact on the individual's ability to work.
- Age and Work Requirements: The specific requirements for work credits and disability status vary based on the age of the individual at the time of disability onset. Younger individuals may require fewer work credits to qualify, but the disability standard remains the same.
- Exclusion from Substantial Gainful Activity: Substantial gainful activity refers to the ability to perform work that generates a certain level of income. Individuals applying for SSDI must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to their disability. The income threshold for substantial gainful activity is reviewed annually by the SSA and may vary.
- Waiting Period: There is a mandatory waiting period before SSDI benefits begin. This waiting period is generally five months from the onset of the disability. During this time, individuals may not be eligible to receive SSDI payments, but the waiting period does not affect the accumulation of work credits.
The Application Process
The process of applying for SSDI benefits involves several steps:
- Application Submission: Individuals can apply for SSDI benefits online, by phone, or by visiting a local Social Security office. The application will require detailed information about the applicant's work history, medical condition, and other relevant details.
- Review by the SSA: After receiving the application, the SSA will review the information and medical evidence provided. They may request additional documentation and may consult with medical professionals to assess the severity of the disability.
- Decision and Appeals: The SSA will make a decision regarding the eligibility for SSDI benefits. If the application is denied, applicants have the right to appeal the decision through a multi-step appeals process, including reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, and further appeals if necessary.
Why Was My SSDI Claim Denied?
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits are crucial for individuals facing long-term disabilities that prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Unfortunately, the process of obtaining SSDI benefits can be challenging, and many applicants find their claims denied. Understanding the common reasons for SSDI benefit denials can help individuals address these issues and increase their chances of a successful appeal. Here are some common reasons why SSDI benefits are denied:
- Insufficient Medical Evidence: Lack of comprehensive and convincing medical evidence is a leading cause of SSDI denials. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires thorough documentation of the medical condition, including diagnosis, treatment history, and the impact of the disability on the ability to work.
- Failure to Follow Prescribed Treatment: If an applicant fails to follow prescribed medical treatment without a valid reason, the SSA may deny the claim. This emphasizes the importance of adhering to medical advice and treatment plans to demonstrate the seriousness of the medical condition.
- Engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA): To qualify for SSDI, individuals must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to their disability. If the SSA determines that the applicant is capable of performing work that generates significant income, the claim may be denied.
- Not Meeting the Duration Requirement: The disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death to qualify for SSDI benefits. If the SSA believes the disability is not of sufficient duration, the claim may be denied.
- Failure to Cooperate: Applicants are required to cooperate with the SSA throughout the application process. Failure to provide requested documentation, attend medical examinations, or participate in the appeals process can result in a denial.
- Disability Not Severe Enough: The SSA has specific criteria for what constitutes a severe disability. If the medical evidence does not sufficiently demonstrate the severity of the impairment and its impact on the ability to work, the claim may be denied.
- Income Exceeding Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Limits: The SSA establishes annual income thresholds for substantial gainful activity. If an applicant's income exceeds these limits, the SSA may determine that the individual is not eligible for SSDI benefits.
- Failure to Follow Application Procedures: Filling out the SSDI application incorrectly or missing deadlines can lead to denials. It is crucial to provide accurate information, complete all required forms, and adhere to application procedures.
- Ineligibility Due to Criminal Activity: In certain cases, individuals incarcerated or institutionalized may be ineligible for SSDI benefits. Conviction of a crime can also impact eligibility, particularly if the disability occurred while committing a felony.
- Failure to Attend Consultative Examinations (CEs): The SSA may request applicants to undergo Consultative Examinations conducted by a healthcare professional chosen by the SSA. Failure to attend these examinations can result in a denial of benefits.
If your SSDI claim is denied, you must act promptly. You have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process typically includes reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, and further appeals if necessary. Seeking legal representation, such as the assistance of an experienced Charlotte SSDI lawyer from Lanier Law Group, P.A., can greatly enhance your chances of a successful appeal by addressing the specific reasons for the denial and presenting a strong case on your behalf.
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I started working with Lanier Law Group in 2020 on my Social Security Disability case. They from start to finish were awesome. My case manager Janet Hanks and attorney, Ashley Sappenfield were always available to answer all my questions. I did not have to do much but sit back and let them handle whatever was needed. My case took too long (2 years) and if I did not have Janet and Ashley My case would still not be approved. I would recommend Lanier to anyone to get the job done and approved. Do not go to another firm with your case, who promise the world and do not see it to completion and do not think another firms would have worked as hard as they did on my case. Lanier Law Group will always be the choice for me and all my family members to handle any cases of this type and other legal services they provide. They went above and beyond!- Phillip J.
Mrs. Gonzalez did an awesome job of explaining everything in detail and keeping me informed on the status of my case. Despite poor customer service with the insurance company, Mrs. Gonzalez was able to fix what they could not. Mrs. Gonzalez was very helpful with helping me understand things that I was not aware of when dealing with insurance claims. I am so thankful for her expertise and professionalism.- Mario H.
The staff kept me well informed in a more than timely manner and was always ready to answer any questions I may have.- Timothy M.
The Lanier Law Group provided excellent customer service! My main contact was Denise.- Malinda P.
Great experience. Tish was very helpful as my case progressed and explained all of the steps to me, leaving me with very few questions. Shea was also very helpful during the negotiation process.- Nyesha B.
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