SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY SELF HELP
FOR FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS

SHINING A LIGHT FROM
THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Applying for and receiving Social Security Disability Benefits is a multi-step process. Our law firm handles Social Security Disability cases from the point of the Social Security Administration's first denial.  As such, Russell Bowling is, essentially, an appellate attorney.

Our team helps Social Security Disability applicants who have been denied benefits by a Social Security Claims Manager to seek reconsideration of their application by an administrative law judge.  Though rare, some disability applicants are approved at their first application. This content is meant to be an overview of how the process works from the point of your first denial, and what you should expect from there.

For the majority of applicants, acquiring Social Security Disability benefits is a three-part multi-step process. Essentially the three parts are application submission, followed by a first and second appeal. Those three steps are described in "The Claim Process" Section below.

NOTE:
Social Security Disability
is a national disability insurance funded by your tax payments.

Supplemental Security Income is a national insurance that is based on income. You may qualify for SSI while you are applying for disability.

Preparing to File Your Claim

Preparation and organization are key factors in helping applicants maintain focus.  Having the following information handy will be beneficial to you while applying for Social Security Benefits.

Make a Reference File.  While your Social Security interviewer will provide you a list, you will want to have the following items on hand both for the initial telephone conversation and personal interview, if required. You should put these items together before starting your initial application and to maintain copies of this information in a file with correspondence relative to your application. You will be asked for this same information several times during your application process.  The tabs below to have specific information about what your folder should include.  The more organized you are the less stressful the process is apt to be.

Things to add to your SSD Folder

About You

Information Pertinent to Your History

  • Your date and place of birth and Social Security number
  • The name, Social Security number and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse.
  • You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate)
  • Names and dates of birth of your minor children
  • Your bank or other financial institution's Routing Transit Number [more info] and the account number, if you want the benefits electronically deposited
About Your Work
About Your Medical Condition
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Have you applied for disability benefits?
If so, has your claim been denied?

The Claims Process

Throughout the claims process, keep in mind that if you are granted Social Security disability, the payment formula is based on lifetime earnings and FICA taxes you have paid. Some factors that influence a determination of disability include your age, blindness, and illiteracy and/or higher education.

STEP 1 - Application

Starting the Process

You can apply online here: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib.
Completing this application survey online triggers the Social Security Administration to make contact with you.

OR

Set an appointment with an interviewer by calling the office nearest your home:

  • Asheville: 866-572-8361
  • Hendersonville: 866-964-5053
  • Franklin: 866-562-0738

For your appointment, you will need a photo ID to gain access to the Social Security Administration building.


What Happens Next:

Once your initial interview has been completed, your claim for benefits is forwarded to Disability Determination Services and assigned to a claims examiner. The claims examiner:

  • will obtain and review your medical records
  • may schedule a disability examination with a Social Security retained physician
  • will make a determination of disability based on a rigorous set of Social Security guidelines, which do not include claims examiner discretion of any kind

In most cases (as high as 90%) applicants will receive a denial of benefits, even when other medical professionals have assigned disability ratings. Upon receipt of your denial of benefits call us.

Timeframe for Application Phase: 3-6 months

STEP 2 - Reconsideration
STEP 3 - Administrative Hearing

CLIENT REVIEWS

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The case and all it entailed has been a pleasurable and stress free process due to the employees in this law firm. We definitely would highly recommend them!! 5 stars all around.

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Just used for a basic will and such everything went smoothly. I would return.
 
 
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They explained my options clearly, took time to listen to my questions about my options and then helped me to set an appointment with social security to start the process of filing for disability. 

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Bowling Law office in Franklin are wonderful to do business with. They handled the closing sale of my retirement home in Franklin, NC. Olga was amazing with her tenacity to keep things moving. Thank you Olga and everyone at Russell Bowling Law Office.

LAWYERS.COM
Excellent staff and quality of service is excellent, their response time is above average prior to past experience with a law office.
 
 
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Best lawyer in WNC.
 
 
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Not only were we successful in our appeals case, we were treated with kindness, dignity and respect. Thank You Attorney Bowling, Monica and all who are there to help people win cases like us!

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I have used this office several times and highly recommend them. Very professional, knowledgeable and patient. Thank you!
 
 
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Great people.
 
 
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They responded to phone calls and emails promptly and addressed all my questions and concerns in a timely manner. Their knowledge and expertise helped the process go smoothly and I am very pleased with the outcome. Thank you!
 
 
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Had a fine closing, thanks Heidi and Russell for your hard work and getting it settled. Bringing in a closing on the target date and on a Friday afternoon to boot, isn't always easy. A lot has to happen to make it so!
 
 
 
 
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Excellent staff and quality of service is excellent, their response time is above average prior to past experience with a law office.
 
 
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Bowling Law Office handled a closings in 2022 and at the beginning of 2023 for us. One of us lived in Tennessee and the other in Florida. Everything was handled very efficiently. Olga did an awesome job communicating with us! I would highly recommend Bowling Law Office.

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We have had several closings with Russell. Always on time with closing, very professional.
 
 
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Professional staff, great communication, top notch legal team and attorney.
 
 
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FREQUENTLY ASKED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY QUESTIONS

Q. Should I Apply for Social Security When I Am Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

A. Yes, in general, Social Security law requires that you be disabled for a continuous period of twelve (12) months…

Q. How Do I Select a Lawyer?

A. Social Security law undergoes regular changes due to new Congressional legislation and Court decisions. Therefore, it’s essential to choose…

Q. What if My Disability is Caused by Alcohol or Drugs?

A. Legislation passed by Congress places significant restrictions on the eligibility to receive Social Security benefits if your disability is…

Q. What is the Difference Between Social Security and Supplemental Security Income?

A. Both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are programs administered by the Social Security Administration. Both…

Q. Why Won’t Social Security Pay for my Disability Without an ALJ Hearing?

Only a limited few applicants in North Carolina receive benefits before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. Social Security decisions…

Q. Can I Work for any Period of Time and Still Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

A. Generally, No. You are required to report any earnings or substantial gainful activity to the Social Security Administration as…

Q. What Type of Physical Ailments are Considered Disabling Under Social Security Law?

A. The Social Security Administration reviews the overall impact of your cumulative ailments in deciding whether you are disabled or…

Q. How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

A. You become eligible for Social Security disability benefits IF you experience mental and/or physical problems of such severity that…

Q. What Witnesses or Evidence Will I Need at the Hearing?

A. Medical reports from your treating doctors play a crucial role in most hearing issues, particularly when it comes to…

Q. What Happens if I Try to Work When I am Receiving Social Security Benefits?

A. According to Social Security law, it is mandatory to report any income or benefits you receive while you are…