Do you know how to apply for Social Security benefits in North Carolina?
Severely injured parties in North Carolina may need more than workers’ comp and health insurance. Social Security benefits can help, but only with an approved application.
Rather than a workplace accident covered by workers’ compensation in North Carolina, a person could sustain a serious injury off the clock or illness. Should an injury be serious enough to leave someone unable to fulfill her or his job duties, applying for Social Security benefits may be the only way to remain financially afloat. One major issue is that the SSD application process is not easy to navigate. Knowing how the process works and preparing accordingly better ensure a favorable outcome.
One of the major aspects of SSD is determining whether an applicant has what the Social Security Administration defines as a disability. Essentially, the injury or illness must be severe enough to last at least 12 months or prove fatal, per a physician’s medical opinion. Applicants must not be old enough to qualify for retirement, which, as of this writing, is age 66. Also, the person must have paid FICA taxes for five of the last 10 years.
It is best not to delay in applying for disability, especially if potential applicants use their own funds to cover medical bills. It can take as many as six months for the Administration to review an application, another reason to get started ASAP. Depending on the severity of the injury or illness, applicants have the option of advancing the review process, such as if the person has cancer.
Making a budget
While waiting for the results of an SSA review, injured parties need to develop (and stick to) a budget. That way, they do not burn through emergency savings, insurance, credit cards and the like, which Social Security benefits may not fully replenish. Applicants also need to realize that disability benefits are not designed to replace a regular salary, only supplement it. Applying for other federal programs, like SNAP, may be a good idea. The goal is to reduce spending to only the essentials, even if a person receives approval for benefits.
Keeping health benefits
Touching back on health insurance, SSD applicants who have health coverage should do what they can to maintain their policy. Paring things down to essentials could make it tempting to sacrifice health insurance, but doing so may backfire. Having adequate and thorough medical evidence proves vital to supporting a claim. Maintaining health insurance makes providing that medical evidence easier and more affordable. Even if workers’ comp does not cover an injury, employer benefits, such as COBRA, may help.
Injured and potentially disabled individuals in North Carolina have much to gain by working with an experienced legal advocate while applying for disability. Doing so can prevent an avoidable application rejection and speed up the process.