North Carolina Disability Lawyer

Social Security Disability Lawyer

At Riddle & Brantley, our North Carolina disability lawyers know how important Social Security disability benefits can be to you and your loved ones. We also understand the impact a denied Social Security disability claim can have on your family. We are ready to help you get the benefits you deserve, and can handle any appeal necessary if you've been denied.

Roughly 70% of initial Social Security disability claims are denied, but an initial denial does NOT necessarily mean that the applicant is not entitled to benefits.

We would love to help however we can.

For a FREE consultation with a North Carolina disability lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the short form below. There is no obligation and there are no upfront costs or attorney fees unless we obtain disability benefits for you. That's our promise to you.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 and let's discuss your case.

"I would recommend Riddle & Brantley to anyone who needs help with disability."

-B. Fields, Riddle & Brantley client

Lawyer for Social Security Disability Appeal

Our Social Security Disability team has extensive experience representing North Carolinians who have been denied for Social Security disability benefits. If you've been denied disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you still have options — do not be discouraged. We have handled thousands of disability claims in North Carolina, including many, many appeals in which we've successfully overturned denials.

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Social Security Disability Application

Completing a disability application, navigating the appeals process, and securing a favorable decision can be daunting challenge. A North Carolina disability lawyer at Riddle & Brantley can help you navigate the entire disability application and appeals process from beginning to end.

North Carolina Disability Lawyer - Riddle & Brantley

The case manager assigned to your case will answer any questions you may have about the application process. He or she and your attorney will handle all paperwork needed to send your claim to Disability Determination Services (DDS).

DDS will make the initial determination as to whether you are considered disabled. Our team will also determine the disability programs for which you may be eligible, as well as benefits you are eligible to receive based on your work history.

In the event that your application is denied, we can handle all aspects of your appeal.

We highly encourage applicants to speak with a North Carolina Social Security disability attorney before beginning the application process. An NC disability lawyer will be able to explain the process for filing for benefits and gathering the documents needed to submit a claim, increasing your odds of success.

In the event that you've already applied and been denied, our disability lawyers may be able to help with your appeal.

For a FREE consultation with a North Carolina Social Security disability lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111 or contact us online. There is no obligation and no upfront costs or attorney fees unless we win your case.

If you suffer from a disability and are unable to work, you deserve benefits under the law. Please call 1-800-525-7111 and let's see how we can help.

Helping Clients Across the Entire State

Our disability attorneys handle claims and appeals across North Carolina. Please check out a listing of our office locations. Keep in mind that we can consult with you from the comfort of your own home (or anywhere else) via phone, email, text, and video conference. There is no in-person meeting required to get started with your case, though we are happy to come directly to you if you prefer.

Disabilities Resulting from Workplace Injuries

Injured workers — including those that are eligible for workers’ compensation — should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as they become disabled. The application process begins with an appointment with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by applying online.

Types of Social Security Disability Benefits

There are many different types of disability benefits, and we can help determine which program(s) you may be eligible for.

Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD or SSDI)

This is the most frequently-sought benefit provided by the SSA. Disability insurance benefits cover millions of people with a recent history of working but who are now disabled. Generally, eligible applicants include those who have worked at least five of the ten years before becoming disabled. Dependents (usually children and spouses) of the disabled worker may also be able to collect benefits. Disability benefit amounts are based on the applicant’s work history and earnings.

Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)

Disabled children between the ages of 18 and 22 may be eligible for benefits if a parent receives Social Security retirement benefits or SSD, or is deceased.

Disabled Widow or Widower (DWB)

These benefits are provided to widows or widowers over the age of 50 who develop disabilities within seven years of the covered spouse’s death. The widow or widower is required to have been married to the deceased for a minimum of ten years.

In cases in which a wrongful death claim may be filed, our North Carolina wrongful death lawyers can help with these claims, as well.

Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Disability Attorneys Serving North Carolina - Riddle & Brantley

The Social Security Administration has created a process to determine whether an SSD application is approved or not. In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, a person must meet the following criteria:

  • He or she is totally disabled
  • He or she is unable to work
  • His or her disability must be expected to last at least one year or result in death

There are many other criteria that must be evaluated based on your specific situation, as well.

The SSA also uses 5 specific questions to determine whether an applicant qualifies for disability benefits:

Questions the SSA Uses to Determine Disability Eligibility

Are you working?

As of January 1, 2018, in order to qualify for SSDI benefits, a person cannot earn more than $1,180 per month from wages. By definition, earning more than that means that you are not “disabled” under the Social Security Act.

How severe is your condition?

Your disabling condition must be severe enough to significantly interfere with work-related activities.

Is your disability on the SSA’s list of disabling conditions?

The SSA maintains a list of conditions that automatically qualify a person for benefits if he or she meets the other criteria. If your condition is not on the list the SSA will move on to the next qualifying question.

Can you do the same work?

If your disabling condition prevents you from performing any of the same types of work you performed on a regular basis during the past fifteen years, you may qualify for benefits if you meet the other criteria.

Can you do any other type of work?

In addition to preventing you from performing your past work, your disabling condition must also be severe enough to prevent you from transitioning into other suitable work within your remaining abilities (your “residual functional capacity”).

An experienced North Carolina disability lawyer at Riddle & Brantley can help review these questions with you and determine your eligibility for disability, and the best legal path forward for seeking benefits. For a FREE case review, please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let's review your claim.

"I sincerely appreciate your dedication to my disability case."

-Gloria T., Riddle & Brantley client

Other Types of Disability Benefits

There are many different types of Social Security disability benefits, and our attorneys can help advise you on your eligibility. Beyond the most common disability benefit programs, other types of benefits include:

Social Security Death Benefits

Social Security is intended to protect working parents and families. If a parent dies, their children may be entitled to receive benefits.

Unmarried children may collect benefits after a parent’s death if they are:

  • Younger than 18
  • Between the ages of 18 and 19, but are enrolled as full-time students at a secondary school
  • Ages 18 and older, but have serious disabilities that occurred before they were 22

Benefits for Disabled Children

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may help families with children who have severe disabilities if they have minimal income and limited resources. These benefits may be paid regardless of a parent’s ability to work and will continue as long as a child is disabled and unable to provide for himself or herself financially.

Children may be eligible for SSI Disability benefits if:

  • They have physical or mental conditions that cause serious functional limitations
  • They’ve had these conditions for at least 12 months
  • The conditions will persist for at least a year or be likely cause their death
  • The disabled child is are not gainfully employed

Whether you're seeking benefits for yourself or a child with a disability, please call us at 1-800-525-7111 to speak with a disability lawyer serving clients in North Carolina.

Justice Counts — and we would love to help you get the benefits you deserve if we can.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the fast and easy form below to get started with a FREE consultation.

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Why Are People Denied Social Security Disability?

It's extremely common to be denied disability benefits after your initial application. Many of these denials can be successfully appealed with the right legal approach — and a NC disability attorney can help increase the chance that you are ultimately approved.

Other more difficult-to-appeal denials can stem from a variety of other factors, including:

Disability Stems From Drug or Alcohol Abuse

If drug or alcohol abuse is “material to the finding of disability” (i.e. the real reason the person cannot work), the Social Security Act says that the person cannot qualify for benefits. THIS IS THE GENERAL RULE but there are qualifications and exceptions to it; not everyone who has a substance abuse problem is automatically disqualified from disability benefits. This is one of many complex issues for which the help of a knowledgeable and experienced disability attorney can greatly increase your odds of a successful claim.

Criminal Convictions

Some applicants with criminal records are not eligible for benefits if the injury resulting in disability occurred during the commission of a felony; or if the disability arose or worsened while in a correctional facility; or if they intentionally orphaned or widowed themselves to receive benefits, or when parole or probation is violated.

Refusal to Cooperate

The Social Security Administration requires applicants to submit their doctors’ medical records. Failure to comply could result in the denial of benefits. For applicants who do not have a treating doctor, the SSA will request an examination with one of their doctors. Applicants who miss their appointments or refuse examinations may be denied benefits as well.


If an applicant lies on their application, the SSA may terminate benefits and the individual could be prosecuted for Social Security fraud.

Short-Term Disability

In order to be eligible for SSD benefits, it must be determined that the injury or impairment will last for at least a year or is likely to lead to the applicant’s death. The only exception to this rule is statutorily blind applicants.

Appealing a Denied Social Security Claim

NC Disability Lawyer - Riddle & Brantley

In the event your application for Social Security disability benefits is denied, or you believe you are not compensated properly, you may appeal the decision by filing a written request within 60 days of receiving the decision letter.

A North Carolina disability lawyer at Riddle & Brantley can help you navigate the entire appeals process. For a FREE consultation regarding your disability appeal, please call 1-800-525-7111. 

It is our #1 priority to get our clients the benefits they deserve and make the entire process as convenient and stress-free as possible.

"It is an honor and a privilege helping North Carolinians with disabilities get the Social Security disability benefits they need and deserve."

Levels of Appeal

A disability claim may go through as many as four levels of review and appeal, including:


If your initial application for benefits is been denied, you or your attorney may file a request for “reconsideration.” During this stage, a claims examiner who was not involved in the initial review process will reconsider your application. They will review any new evidence that you or your NC disability attorney have uncovered to supplement your claim. Your attorney can respond on your behalf to any questions posed by the claims examiner during this stage.


If your claim is denied at the reconsideration stage, the next step is to request a hearing. At this point in the process, your attorney will file the paperwork necessary for you to get a “place in line” among the one-million-plus people also waiting for hearings with Administrative Law Judges.  The wait time for a hearing currently averages around twenty-two months.

Once a Judge is assigned and a hearing date set, your North Carolina disability attorney can handle all aspects of the hearing, including:

  • Preparing you for questions that could be asked at your hearing
  • Requesting that the judge subpoena witnesses
  • Arguing your case before the judge
  • Questioning and cross-examining witnesses and experts
  • Presenting new evidence or information
  • Asking the judge to reassess the calculations if you've already been awarded benefits

Appeals Council

If you are dissatisfied with the Judge’s decision and believe you have been unjustly denied Social Security disability benefits, you can ask that it be reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Council.

The Appeals Council can:

1) affirm the judge’s decision; 2) reverse it and grant you benefits, or 3) send the case back to the judge (“remand”) for further action to correct any errors in the process.

Federal Court

If your claim is denied review by the Appeal Council, you can file a lawsuit in federal district court.

The chances of winning an appeal can vary greatly based on the level of appeal and the unique circumstances of the case. Check out our guide to the chances of winning a disability appeal for more detailed information on what to expect.

Experienced North Carolina Disability Lawyers

Have you been denied Social Security Disability benefits? More than 70 percent of first-time Social Security Disability applicants are denied.

Being denied does NOT mean that all is lost, however. There are many options for appealing a denial.

Free Consultation - Disability Lawyers in North Carolina

The process of applying for benefits and appealing denied claims is complicated but having the help of an experienced Social Security disability attorney serving North Carolina can increase your chances of approval.

At Riddle & Brantley, our NC disability attorneys and staff understand the frustration a denied benefits claim can create, and we are ready to help however we can.

Improving Your Chance of Approval

Research shows that while just 34 percent of those who do not hire a disability lawyer are ultimately approved for benefits, 60 percent of those who do hire a disability attorney are ultimately approved.

That's a significant difference. Don't gamble with the benefits that can make a difference for you and your loved ones. Don’t battle the Social Security Administration to obtain benefits alone.

An experienced North Carolina disability lawyer at Riddle & Brantley can help.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the short form below for a FREE consultation and case review.

"North Carolinians with disabilities deserve justice. No matter what."

-Gene Riddle, attorney and founding partner

The consultation is 100% confidential and there is no obligation. If you decide to hire us, you won't pay a dime upfront and there are no attorney fees unless we obtain benefits for you.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 and let's talk. With offices throughout North Carolina and dedicated case representatives, our firm is always ready to assist you with your claim.

Contact us today by completing our free case evaluation form or call 1-800-525-7111.

Justice Counts.

*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.