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Understanding the SSDI claims process

While it might only take most of our readers a few minutes to get to Raleigh’s Social Security office at 4701 Old Wake Forest Road, it can take months to get an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits filed and approved there.

Let’s take a look at the application, appeals and approval processes that SSDI claimants can expect to encounter when illness or injury prevents them from working.

The very first step in the SSDI claim process is to decide which method of filing a claim makes the most sense for you. You can file online (https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/) or you can call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number (1-800-772-1213) to make an appointment to make a claim over the phone or to file your claim at the Old Wake Forest Road address on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (the office closes at noon on Wednesdays).

You then submit your application, accompanied by medical evidence and documentation. Your claim will be sent to a state office that will determine whether you are eligible for benefits.

About a third of initial SSDI claims are approved at this point. Those folks will then begin receiving benefits. Most recipients receive between $800 and $1,800 each month (the average this year is $1,234).

Those people who have their claims denied are able to file an appeal within 60 days. Your claim will then be examined by an administrative law judge. This stage of the process can be the longest: the current wait time in Raleigh is 11 months.

Many claimants improve odds of approval with the help of an attorney experienced in fixing technical errors in applications, filling in gaps in medical documentation and ensuring that the claimant gets additional testing by doctors, if needed.

About 60 percent of those who file appeals are approved for benefits.

Contact our office to discuss SSDI appeals assistance from a Disabilty Specialist Board-certified by the North Carolina State Bar.

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