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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

I’ve worked all my life. Why aren’t I eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Not everyone is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Only those who have worked and paid FICA taxes within five of the past 10 years and meet the government’s disability requirements.

Here is a simplified explanation of what you need to know if you’re thinking of applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

SSDI is Insurance for Disabled Workers

Social Security Disability Insurance is just what its name implies. Insurance.

When you work, a portion of each paycheck goes into a federal insurance fund (FICA, which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act). This is a fund for SSDI. Just like medical insurance or car insurance, you hope you never have to use your SSDI. But if you’ve paid into it (which you are required to if you receive a paycheck) you will be covered for benefits if you become disabled and the Social Security Administration determines that you are unable to work.

Spotty Work History?

What if you were working but you stopped temporarily to raise your children through elementary school? Or what if you were laid off and subsequently unable to find a suitable job for several years? What if you’ve been out of work due to a work injury?

Whether you may get SSDI depends largely on the date you last worked.

The government considers this very important date as the last date you would potentially be eligible for SSDI. To determine whether you may be eligible you must pass a "recent work" test. There is only one question on this test, so you either pass or fail.

Have you worked five of the past 10 years (or in government jargon, 20 of the last 40 quarters?

If you become disabled after your date last insured (DLI) has passed, you cannot get SSDI benefits. It would be similar to getting in a car accident after you stopped paying for car insurance.

Here is an example of DLI. If you worked up until five years ago today, your DLI would be today’s date. If you worked up until two years ago, your DLI would be three years from now. If you haven't worked for six years, your DLI passed one year ago and you are no longer eligible for SSDI unless you are found disabled before your DLI.

Show Me the Money

Occasionally we have seen instances in which someone assumed they were not eligible for SSDI. Yet upon closer inspection and reviewing their work and payment history, we discovered that a client’s employer failed to pay the employer and employee taxes and sought to correct the error. (Of course, payment is subject to IRS provisions on the ability to amend tax returns or file late.) While this doesn’t happen often, it serves as a reminder of how we have been able to help people uncover benefits they did not know were available to them*.

What if You Do Not Qualify for SSDI?

If you do not qualify for SSDI, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income or SSI benefits, provided you meet the extremely low income and asset requirements threshold.

SSI is for people who have never worked or haven't worked enough to qualify for SSDI. You can only get SSI if your income and assets are extremely low.

For 2017, the federal benefit rate is $735 per month for individuals and $1,103 for couples (and this is subject to reductions). Some states supplement the federal amount. North Carolina is not one of them.

Think You Can’t Afford a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

Think again. Uncle Sam limits the contingency fees for all Social Security Disability lawyers to 25% of back-due benefits or $6,000, whichever is less.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From N.C. Social Security Disability Lawyers

We know applying for Social Security Disability can be a confusing and lengthy process. (It can take nearly two years in N.C. just to get a judge to hear your case – 23 months in Charlotte, 22 in Greensboro, 20 months in Fayetteville, and 19 in Raleigh.)

We understand from firsthand experience what you are up against.

Nearly every person on our Social Security Disability team has worked inside the Social Security Administration.

We know how the system works, what they look for to accept a claim, the importance of filing the correct forms and meeting strict deadlines, and what medical records to present. And sometimes we know where to look for benefits you may not be aware of.

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability, contact us as soon as possible or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation about your unique situation. We’re available 24/7.

*Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Will I Be Denied Social Security Disability Benefits if I Work 1 Day a Week?

The government has a methodical five-step evaluation process to determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security examiners must follow those five steps in sequential order every time someone walks in their office to find out if they qualify for benefits.

There’s no wiggle room.

We know from firsthand experience. Nearly everyone on our Social Security Disability team previously worked for the Social Security Administration. You must be able to proceed through the first three steps or all five steps in order to be found disabled.

However, if you fail the first step the inquiry ends altogether.

Step 1. Are You Working?

The first step is the one that trips up many people. It is at this step that the inquiry can end abruptly. Here is how this works.

Step 1 asks about your current work status. What many clients do not realize is the weight and importance the government gives to whether or not you are working. It is very telling that your work status is the first question rather than what disability or disabilities you claim to have.

Here is what the Social Security Administration says about work status as it relates to potential benefits:

“At the first step, we consider your work activity, if any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will find that you are not disabled.”

What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

As you might imagine, the government has a very specific definition as to what substantial and gainful activity means with regard to your potential to receive disability benefits.

Substantial refers to anything you are doing physically or mentally, and can even include part time work or volunteer work.

Gainful is something you get paid to do. But even if you don’t get paid (such as volunteering or helping a friend or family member with their startup business by taping boxes to ship) the Social Security Administration may conclude your activity is gainful if other people usually get paid to do it.

In 2017, substantial gainful activity is defined as earning $1,170 or more monthly ($1,950 for those who are blind).

Someone Has to Put Food on the Table”

We will sometimes have clients come to us and say they are working only because it is necessary in order to put food on the table for their family. They explain to us how difficult it is for them because of XYZ disability and they are barely getting by. We understand and we empathize. But the government reasons, if you are able to put food on the table today, you can do it tomorrow and the next day. The Social Security Disability Benefits document makes this very clear:

“Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.”

FREE Social Security Disability Case Evaluation

When you are completely unable to work to put food on the table is when you should come see us. Unfortunately, the government ties the hands of all Social Security Disability lawyers unless you say you are not working during Step 1 questioning.

Everyone’s situation is unique and we have helped hundreds in their time of need. If you’d like a FREE case evaluation, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We would love to try to help in any way we can.

Scam Targeting Your Social Security Benefits. What You Should Know.

Have you received a suspicious call from someone stating that they are an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigator? Don’t buy it.

The Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General have received numerous calls from people who have reported receiving such calls.

These are very likely scammers and should be reported immediately.

Reports say the caller will identify himself or herself as an “officer with the Inspector General of Social Security and that your Social Security account, Social Security number, and/or your benefits are being suspended. The caller instructs the person to call a non-SSA number to resolve the issue. When you call the number, the person answering claims there’s a warrant for your arrest. This person then tries to strong-arm the caller to purchase iTunes or other gift cards or prepaid banking cards, for hundreds of dollars, and to provide the card information to him or her to resolve the warrant.

Here is what the OIG advises:

  • Avoid calling any number provided by a suspicious source, as the unknown source might pressure you to provide your personal information, or to make a payment or purchase for fictitious reasons.
  • Avoid making payments over the phone or purchasing gift cards or bank cards to resolve government or business matters.

If you get a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the OIG, report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

For that matter, any suspicious communication — a phone call, email, letter, or text – claiming to be from the SSA or the OIG, contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday to verify whether it is a legitimate call.

NC Social Security Disability Hearing Wait Times Almost 2 Years! We May be Able to Help.

How many times have you heard from your children, "That's not fair!" Too many to count? We can laugh it off when they're young, and older brother gets to play football with the neighborhood kids while the little tykes are told to stay on the sidelines until they're old enough to play.

But the reality is sometimes life is not fair. We see it every day fighting for our Social Security Disability clients. And it's no laughing matter.

Many of our clients have been sidelined for life as they were going about their daily routines. One client was stopped in traffic on his way home from work and got rear-ended by a driver going above the speed limit. His injuries were so devastating he vomits three or four times a week. He has headaches so severe they wake him up several times a night, and he has photosensitivity to the point where he can no longer go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Another client was injured on the job just by walking up a flight of stairs.

One client simply sat down at church when a bolt came lose on the chair and she fell to the floor causing her permanent and total disability.

Some of our clients have fought for our country and returned home physically or mentally unable to exercise their inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness - a right promised to all U.S. citizens in the Declaration of Independence. Sadly, these veterans are among the more than one million people on the Social Security Disability wait list whose delay in having their cases heard can be more than two years in many parts of the country!

Now that's not fair!

Social Security Disability Wait Times in North Carolina

While Social Security Disability is available to help our citizens who have been sidelined by catastrophe, getting it can be very difficult for a number of reasons. One is the long wait time. According to the Social Security Administration, the wait times in North Carolina are currently:

  • Charlotte - 21 months
  • Fayetteville - 20 months
  • Greensboro - 21 months
  • Raleigh - 19 months

Some are forced to wait so long they have died before their hearing date because some are simply unable to pay for medication they need to live. We have seen this happen.

When they finally get a hearing many are denied benefits. More than two-thirds are denied the first time and 88% the second time. Of those who are accepted, it can take several more months in many cases to begin receiving payments and back benefits.

Sadly, some are denied because they attempted to navigate this overwhelmingly large bureaucratic aircraft carrier by themselves.

James Scott Farrin Social Security Disability Team of "Insiders"

These are the circumstances that motivate our Social Security Disability team to come to work every day. We know what you're up against because most of us have worked on the other side.

All but one of our paralegals has worked for the Social Security Administration as a
Disability Determination Services examiner, where initial applications are
accepted or denied.

This inside experience is helpful in knowing how the system works, including:

  • What they look for to accept a claim
  • The importance of filing the correct forms, filling them out correctly, and meeting demanding and unwavering deadlines
  • What medical records you need to produce - and which ones not to produce

Just the paperwork alone can be overwhelming for one person.

Not only can we help you complete it correctly, process it on time, and in the manner in which Social Security Disability requires, but we can also follow up in a timely manner and try to keep the process moving. We can also help you obtain your medical records so that when your case goes to hearing, we know we've tried to do everything possible to make sure your information will not be sent back because of a technicality, for example.

Of all the attorneys licensed in NC, fewer than 1%* are board certified specialists in Social Security Disability law. I am one of them. I also chair the N.C. State Bar's Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee and I lead the committee charged with writing and grading examinations for attorneys who wish to specialize in Social Security Disability law.

Capped Fees for Social Security Disability Clients

Some people may mistakenly think they cannot afford us to help them through this daunting process. If you are one of them, you are mistaken! This is one area where the federal government is your friend. Not only do we work on a contingency basis, like all Social Security Disability lawyers, the federal government has capped legal fees in order to help keep costs low for you.

The contingency fee for Social Security Disability clients is limited
to 25% of back-due benefits, or $6,000, whichever is less.

NC Social Security Disability Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

If you need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, or if you have applied and were denied, click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. Our attorneys and team of former "insiders" will fight to try to improve your chances of getting the benefits you may deserve.

(We think that's a fair offer.)

* Percentage from the NC State Bar as of December 2016

Top 8 Questions Our Clients Ask Us Before Their Social Security Disability Hearings

We understand that going to a Social Security Disability hearing can be intimidating. More than two-thirds of those who file for Social Security Disability the first time are denied, according to the Social Security Administration. And 88% are denied a second time.

A lot is at stake.

Understandably, our clients have all kinds of questions before a hearing. Most of them are about paperwork and what they can do to get ready for their hearing.

There is really only one main thing we ask that our clients do themselves to help support their case. Keep up their medical treatments.

We can handle the paperwork side of things, since we know what the Social Security Administration is looking for in most instances.

Here are eight of the most common questions our clients ask us before we go into a hearing together*.

8 Common Questions Our Clients Ask Before Social Security Disability Hearings

 

1.     How long will it take for a decision to be issued and for benefits to be paid?

After the hearing, it often takes two to five months for a decision to be issued.

If approved

  • Current benefits: it can take a month or two for current benefits payments to begin.
  • Back due benefits: it can take from one to six months for all back benefits payouts to begin.

If denied

Your attorney will discuss the judge's decision with you to help determine the next course of action.

2.     Do I need to get medical records or reports for my representative?

No.  You do not have to get any medical records or reports yourself unless your lawyer asks you to.

3.     But what if my doctor gives me a report?

If you happen to get something, such as a disability form, completed by your doctor for an insurance company, etc., be sure to forward a copy to your lawyer.

4.     What if the judge sends me a form that needs to be completed by my doctor?

Sometimes you may be sent a form to be completed by a doctor. If the judge sends you a form for your doctor to complete, call your attorney immediately so he or she can discuss and decide how to address this issue.

5.     Should I send my attorney the "acknowledgement" that comes with a Notice of Hearing?

No. There will be a document included with your Notice of Hearing that you must mark to let the judge's office know you will attend the hearing. This document is called an Acknowledgement of Notice of Hearing. Ordinarily, this acknowledgement notice should be sent directly back to the judge. Your lawyer shouldn't need a copy.

6.     Should I send anything else to the judge?

No. Your attorney is responsible for all evidence submission. You should talk with your attorney before submitting anything to ensure you're not sending duplicates of what is already in your file.

7.     What will my attorney do to prepare for the hearing?

Your attorney has a lot to do on your behalf to prepare for your hearing. Much of it is working behind the scenes obtaining and reviewing your files and medical history. Your attorney will review your social security file and research the laws and facts of your case to plan what he or she believes is the best course of action to try to prove your case and potentially win your claim for benefits.

He or she will obtain necessary medical records and any other records needed, including reports from your doctors. Prior to your hearing, your attorney will speak with you to help prepare you to testify.

8.     What can I do to help get ready for my hearing?

The most important aspect of your case is medical evidence. No matter how severe your condition is, the Social Security Administration is required to have well-documented and current medical evidence on file. That is why we emphasize to our clients that they make every effort to maintain steady treatment with their doctors. This medical evidence is crucial to ensuring the potential for a successful outcome of their trial.

We understand maintaining medical treatment is sometimes difficult due to financial limitations and the cost of insurance. If our clients are having trouble paying for medical treatment, we ask them to contact us for a list of low-cost clinics in their area.

NC Social Security Disability Lawyers Give FREE Case Evaluations

We hope this information offers a bit of insight into how we endeavor to work together with our clients to try to present the best case possible at their hearing. If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability or if you've been denied, give us a call. We'll give you a FREE case evaluation.

And don't worry about paying us an attorney's fee up front. We work on contingency, which means we do not get an attorney's fee unless you receive benefits. Second - and very good news for our Social Security Disability clients - the federal government caps that fee. They know money is tight for people on Social Security Disability. That Social Security Disability fee is limited to 25% of back-due benefits, or $6,000, whichever is less.

Contact us right now or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

* Each case is unique, and this information may not be applicable in all situations.

5 Ways to Help Strengthen and Maybe Hasten Your Social Security Disability Case

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 67% of those who file for their initial Social Security Disability cases end in denial. And 88% of those filing a second time are denied! The third time is not a charm for applicants either, with a 37% denial rate.

What gives?

Clearly, the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a struggle for many. Although Social Security Disability benefits can often be worth the effort, the system can be a complex web of government rules, regulations, and procedures, and understandably, wrought with confusion for those unfamiliar it.

And the wait times can be long too. Currently in Raleigh, for example, the average wait time for a Social Security Disability hearing is 19 months, according to the Social Security Administration's Hearing Office.

But don't despair.

We Can Help - NC Board Certified Expertise in Social Security Disability Law

Our NC Social Security Disability attorneys are familiar with the system. Very familiar. One of our attorneys, Rick Fleming, is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law. Out of the 28,000 North Carolina-licensed lawyers, only 51 in the entire state can make that claim1. Not only is he certified, he's actually the vice chair of the N.C. State Bar's Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee (the entity that certifies attorneys).

And many of our staff members have more than ten years of Social Security Disability experience, including experience with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Disability Determination Services division. They understand what you're up against.

Although the denial rate is high for Social Security Disability cases and the wait time can be long, there are ways our Social Security Disability lawyers can try to improve your chances for approval.

5 Ways a NC Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help

 

  1. Wade through the bureaucracy. Our attorneys can help handle the mountains of paperwork, and help ensure rules, timelines, and methods are followed, and deadlines met.
  2. Offer you piece of mind - and time to heal. We can focus on the legal aspects of your situation, which gives you more time and opportunity to focus on healing.
  3. Direct examiners to the most important information. We can help examiners focus on the important issues by highlighting the most critical aspects of your case. Sometimes we've found this can increase the chance of more expedient success.Although many people believe they've given accurate information, often clients forget about some past medical experiences. Or think they're unrelated. In Social Security Disability cases, everything counts and our attorneys are skilled at helping you try to file the most compelling claim possible.
  4. Go to court prepared! We know the drill. It's a process we've repeated over many years and we've continually honed our process to try to achieve maximum results. We know how to handle the medical records, question witnesses, and interpret the rules and regulations that govern both a court of law and the various Social Security programs.
  1. Increase your chance for a successful outcome. All of the above can increase your chances for success.
    Consider a client of ours who, at first, had been seeking Social Security Disability on his own. After initially being denied, we helped him appeal that decision by presenting additional information about his medical condition before the Social Security Disability Administration. Subsequently, our client's case was approved2.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation by North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

You don't need to stumble through this process alone. We encourage you to contact us.

If you think you can't afford to hire us to fight for you, think again! We work on a contingency basis, which means if we don't recover for you, you don't pay us one penny in attorney's fees. So don't hesitate to ask for assistance when it comes to getting the help you need.

If you're having problems applying for Social Security Disability, or just can't seem to get approved, click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. Our skilled team will work tirelessly to review and try to improve your chances to finally get you the benefits you may deserve.

1 Figures provided by NC State Bar December 31, 2015

2Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Social Security Disability Cases Take Too Long

How We Can Help

I love my job as a Social Security Disability attorney. I really do.

It's rewarding to know I'm trying to help someone achieve a financial lifeline. Especially when I read articles like the one published June 10, 2016 in the The Washington Post. It confirmed something our staff instinctively knew: hearing wait times are taking longer and longer.

The article claims, "The average wait for a hearing [for Social Security Disability] rose from 360 to 540 days between 2011 and 2016.  And the number of applicants awaiting a hearing has risen to over 1 million, an all-time high."

Those are national numbers. In North Carolina, wait times are even longer. In Charlotte and Greensboro the average wait times are 21 months, and in Raleigh it's 19 months.

Why so long and how can you potentially hasten your decision?

Fewer Social Security Disability Reviewers Take on More Case Loads

The article explains that these extended wait times are a result of Social Security Administration budget cuts, which forced a hiring freeze in 2011.

You don't need to tell us that fewer reviewers are taking on more Social Security Disability cases. Our growing caseload speaks volumes.

Consequences of Delayed Social Security Disability Benefits

The ripple effects these cuts can have on human lives are shameful and shocking. Here is an actual example of what happened to a client who waited patiently while fewer workers took on more cases.

Our client had multiple and obvious disabilities. Even so, the client had to wait over a year to reach the stage to just request a hearing. Unfortunately, a couple of months after our client's hearing request was finally approved, she passed away due to untreated medical conditions. The client's ailments were treatable, but were not given medical attention because she could not afford treatment.

I often ask myself, if our client had received the benefits she so clearly needed, would that client be here today? Troubling as this was, we were able to pass the case on to our client's spouse, as is customary, in hope that the spouse could receive the benefits the family needed. Several months later, the spouse died too.

Without a steady stream of income, many of our clients may not be able to pay for essentials like food, shelter, and medical treatment. In these instances, Social Security Disability benefits are not only a financial lifeline, they can be a literal lifeline. As we witnessed firsthand in this case, without treatments and regular medical assistance, the lifespan of these cases have a huge impact on those who desperately depend on their Social Security Disability payments.

We cannot change the bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration. That is why we believe it is more important now than ever to hire an experienced attorney who will try to do everything in their power to help move you through the process as quickly as possible, so you may be able to start receiving the benefits you may need.

Having a lawyer, especially one who focuses in Social Security Disability, can make it a lot easier to move a case through the system. Our lawyers, and the whole team in fact, know what's important to include in an application, and often what can be left out.

-Social Security Disability paralegal Andrea Davis, 17 years of Social Security Disability Experience



Just the paperwork alone can be overwhelming for one person. We have an entire team of experienced people dedicated to that effort. Not only can we help you complete it correctly, process it on time, and in the manner in which Social Security Disability requires, but we can also follow up in a timely manner and try to prod the administration along. We can also help you obtain your medical records so that when your case goes to hearing, we know we've tried to do everything possible to make sure the i's were dotted and t's crossed.

Get Your FREE Case Evaluation From a NC Social Security Disability Lawyer

Our Social Security Disability lawyers and paralegals know how to navigate this complex (and quite frankly, slow) system. Just because the government doesn't necessarily give your case the attention it may deserve in a timely manner, it does not mean we won't.

You are our #1 priority and we are always available to answer your questions 24/7/365. Click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

P.S. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay any attorney's fee unless we win your case for you. Further, the federal government caps the fees lawyers receive from Social Security Disability cases. Read about Social Security Disability contingency fees here.

Denied Social Security Disability Benefits? Don't give up. Tony didn't.

If you've been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, don't be disheartened. Sometimes even the most clearly disabled are denied the first two or even three times.

That was certainly the case with our client, Tony (click here to read his full story).

Tony went from working in a job he loved, to being so disabled after a car accident that he can't eat, sleep, or even go outside on a sunny day. He vomits almost daily and his headaches are so severe they sometimes cause him to cry. Within a year he dropped from 155 to 123 lbs. - and he's 6'2".

Even though he's disabled by almost anyone's definition, the Social Security Disability administration denied him benefits. Twice. But he didn't give up and neither did we. It took some relentless work, but eventually we won him disability benefits1 - including back-due benefits - and he became immediately eligible for Medicare.

Don't Give Up After Being Denied Benefits

The moral of this story is that it's not unusual to be denied benefits the first or even the second time you apply. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, 67% of Social Security Disability applicants applying for benefits are denied the first time around, and 88% are denied the second time.

Sometimes All You Need Is Experienced Legal Help

A good Social Security Disability lawyer who is familiar with the system may be able to help you through the complicated and cumbersome process and may even potentially speed up your claim.

Think you can't afford to hire an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer? Think again.

Many, like our firm, work on contingency, which means you don't pay us one penny in attorney's fees unless we get you your benefits. Don't give up because you are frustrated or because you think you cannot afford legal help.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from our NC Social Security Disability Attorneys

If you are disabled, ask one of our Social Security Disability lawyers if they think they can help before you wade through the disability process alone.

One of our Social Security Disability attorneys is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law. Out of the 28,000 licensed North Carolina lawyers, only 51 can make that claim2. That same attorney also happens to be vice chair of the N.C. State Bar's Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee.

Yet all of our Social Security Disability lawyers and paralegals know their way around the system and its processes. It's what they do. And helping those in need is their passion. If you've been denied once, twice, or even three times, don't give up. Contact us instead. Better yet, contact us before you apply. We are here to fight for the benefits you may rightly deserve. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your situation.

 

1Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

2Figures provided by NC State Bar December 31, 2015

 

Federal Student Loans Forgiven for Permanently Disabled

If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits because you are permanently disabled, and you have outstanding federal student loan debt that you are unable to pay due to your inability to work, you might be in luck!

In April 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced a process to "identify and assist federal student loan borrowers with disabilities who may be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge."

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness for the Permanently Disabled

The DOE is in the process of proactively identifying and engaging borrowers who may be eligible for TPD loan discharge, in its effort to ensure that these borrowers have the information needed to take full advantage of the debt relief they may be entitled to. According to a DOE press release, dated April 12, 2016:

"In 2012, the Administration took steps to streamline the process to allow for Americans who are totally and permanently disabled to use their Social Security designation to apply to have their loans discharged. But too many eligible borrowers were falling through the cracks, unaware they were eligible for relief. Borrowers like one such woman whose side effects from her breast cancer treatment left her totally and permanently disabled. After repeated attempts, she finally received a disability discharge-seven years after her first application," said U.S. Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. "Under the new process, we will notify potentially eligible borrowers about the benefit and guide them through steps needed to discharge their loans, helping thousands of borrowers. Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief. And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due."

How Will You Know If Your Student Loans Are Forgiven?

The DOE is working with the Social Security Administration to identify federal student loan borrowers who also receive disability payments and have the specific designation of "Medical Improvement Not Expected" (MINE).

Those borrowers identified as MINE will receive a customized letter explaining eligibility for loan forgiveness and outlining the simple 3-step process to receive a loan discharge.

Streamlined Application Process

Those identified through the data match will not be required to submit documentation of their eligibility. Instead, they are eligible for a streamlined process by which they simply sign and return a completed application.

Initial Notification Letters Already Mailed

The DOE is mailing initial notification letters over a 16-week period beginning April 18, 2016. If the DOE does not receive a signed application within 120 days, it will send out another letter.

If you are considered permanently and totally disabled (MINE), and have outstanding federal student loans, look for your letter from the DOE in the mail.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078