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5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Filing a Disability Claim

Disability_06132014The definition of "disability" under Social Security is different than other programs, like workers' compensation or when settling for damages after a car accident.

Social Security pays only for total disabilityNo benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. You are considered disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • It is found that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

The 5 Questions You'll Be Asked

To determine if you fall under this definition of disability, the Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process involving five questions. They are:

  1. 1. Are you working? (If you are working and you earn a certain amount per month, you generally cannot be considered disabled).
  2. 2. Is your condition severe? (Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered disabling).
  3. 3. Is your condition found in the list of disability conditions? (The Listings are a list of medical conditions that are considered so severe that they automatically mean that you are disabled.)
  4. Can you do the work/kind of jobs you used to do? (If your condition is severe, but not at the same or equal level of severity as a Listing, then it must be determined if your impairment interferes with your ability to do the kind of jobs you used to do. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, the matter proceeds on to the fifth and final step of evaluation below).
  5. Can you do any other type of work? (If you cannot do the kind of work you used to do, the SSA will determine if you are able to adjust to other kinds of work. If you are, your claim will be denied. If you are unable to do your past work and unable to adjust to other work, your claim should be approved).

The Social Security disability process can be complicated. If you're considering filing a claim (or have tried in the past), contact us for a free case assessment.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Attorneys Working for You

Were you denied a Social Security disability claim? You are not alone. Far from it. The vast majority of initial SSD claims are denied (roughly 70%). Many applicants give up in frustration. This is a mistake.

It's important to appeal your claim through the Social Security benefits appeals process. A Social Security disability attorney who thoroughly understands the rules and regulations may be able to help you get results.

Call 1-866-900-7078 today to find out how the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin can help. Let a Social Security disability attorney in North Carolina guide you through the complicated Social Security disability claims process.


Mr. Fleming joined the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in 2002. He became a shareholder at the Firm in 2008 and currently heads the Social Security Department. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

301 S McDowell St, Suite 900
Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

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

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2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

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

Greenville Law Office

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

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

Morganton Law Office

216 N. Sterling Street, Suite B
Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-219-3080
Toll Free: 1-844-520-2894

New Bern Law Office

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

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
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

144 Woodridge Court
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