Is My Arthritis Severe Enough for Eligibility for SSDI?

by Vaughn Clauson on January 30, 2017

Social Security disability insurance is something that many people have questions about whether or not their condition may qualify them to receive payments. Some people just assume that their condition isn’t severe enough to qualify them for Social Security disability payments while others give up before even trying thinking that it’s just too hard. The good news is that there is a clearly defined definition of the different conditions that are eligible for Social Security. Inflammatory arthritis is a condition that falls under immune system disorders that are eligible.

Is My Arthritis Severe Enough for Eligibility for SSDI

Qualifications of Arthritis

Now, just having arthritis itself doesn’t qualify you for Social Security disability insurance. It has to fall under the label of severe meaning that your arthritis causes you to have problems with mobility, severe symptoms, and/or an impact on how you are able to live daily life in regards to your function.

Option of Medical-Vocational Allowance

There are some people that qualify for Social Security disability insurance because of their severe arthritis. You may be worried that your arthritis does not have the specifics that are required in the Blue Book section for inflammatory arthritis. The good news is that there is still options for you to qualify for Social Security disability insurance. The way that you can do that is through medical-vocational allowance. This is based on your level of functioning and your job history. If your level of functioning will not allow you to work in your job or a comparable job, you can still be eligible.

If you believe that your situation will qualify you under the medical-vocational allowance, it’s a good idea to have a lot of detailed information about your job history and your medical condition. It can be helpful as well to have your doctor fill out your residual functional capacity, also known as the RFC, form for you. You may be denied benefits the first time around as happens to many individuals, but that is when the appeals process comes into play.

Still not sure whether or not your arthritis is severe enough for you to be eligible for Social Security disability insurance? Speaking with an attorney familiar with Social Security disability is a natural next step to help guide you through the process. This can be a good way to learn more about applying and to see how your particular situation will fit into the blue book or going through medical-vocational allowance.

Contact us with any questions that you may have about filing your claim for Social Security disability insurance.


There are many benefits to hiring a Social Security disability lawyer, starting with the professional help and advice that they can provide and going all the way to representing you at a hearing, if your claim moves to that stage. Disability lawyers will fill out paperwork, gather documents, and file your appeals so that you can focus on living your daily life as best you can. However, if you’re considering hiring a Social Security disability lawyer, the Social Security Administration has certain rules and regulations that govern attorney-client interactions. Keep the following in mind:

Can I Get a Free Evaluation from a Social Security Disability Lawyer

1. Can I get a free initial consultation?

The short answer is yes – you are entitled to a free consultation with the attorney that you would like to represent you, because he or she cannot charge you a fee before filling out a “fee agreement” with the Social Security Administration. However, you should check with each individual attorney to make sure. A free initial consultation is extremely beneficial because the attorney can get an overview of your claim, evaluate what strategies will work best for you and put forward an action plan to file a claim with the Social Security Administration once you agree to work with them.

2. How will the attorney get paid?

Federal rules limit the compensation that an attorney can receive for representing you. After your claim is won, the attorney will either receive 25 percent of your disability backpay or $6,000, whichever is the lower sum. That means that you will never have to pay more than $6,000 for an attorney, and even then you will only have to pay if you win the case. An attorney cannot request more than this from you, and can face strict penalties (including criminal prosecution) for failing to follow these rules.

3. How does billing work?

If the representative you choose is eligible for direct pay, the Social Security Administration will with simply withhold 25 percent of the past-due payment you are owed upon winning your claim. However, you may have to pay your attorney directly if this full amount is not withheld, meaning you will have to make up the remaining amount. Your attorney can also charge you for out-of-pocket expenses that don’t need prior approval, such as costs associated with getting copies of medical reports.


How a Disability Attorney Helps Your Claim Succeed

by Vaughn Clauson on January 18, 2017

Filing a disability claim without the expertise of an attorney is a lot like trying to sell your house without a real estate agent. It is possible for it to work, but the odds are not in your favor. But the difference is that you can always get a real estate agent if you don’t succeed selling your home yourself. If you go through the disability process and are unsuccessful, the chances of you getting a second chance to present your case are very rare.

How a Disability Attorney Helps Your Claim Succeed

Filing for disability without an attorney means you are going to have to get up-to-speed on the complex process, legal jargon and the nuances that can result in the success or failure of your applications. More than 70% of disability claims are denied making it even more important that you have competent legal counsel who will advocate for you and knows the best way to navigate through the process.

There are four stages of appeal to the disability process: reconsideration (which usually results in denial), an administrative hearing, an appeals council review and federal court.

Frequently just gathering the right evidence to present to the appeal judge can be critical in your cases chances of success. It can be more complex than just getting your doctor’s file and handing it over to a judge. There may be part of your file that does not show your case in its best possible light that you should not present to the judge. It is not a “one size fits all” situation. A qualified attorney who has been through the process many times will be able to take the particulars of your situation and present them effectively.

The administrative hearing is next and this usually takes about 18 months. The hearing will take place before an Administrative Law Judge. You may need to present witnesses on your behalf. Legal counsel will be able to prepare these witnesses for what will happen when they are in front of the judge. If a witness is not properly prepared, the entire case can be destroyed.

An experienced attorney may also discover that your physician has left out important documents that should be presented. This is critically important because the judge will not only review them, but will also forward them to a vocational expert who has been hired by the Social Security Administration to go over your records. This expert will review your vocational history and provide an opinion to the judge on if your disability should be approved.

Should your appeal be denied at the Administrative Hearing, the next stage in the process is filing an appeal with the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council must complete a review of your claim before your case can be submitted to the United States District Court. An attorney who has presented cases before the council or the court will be invaluable to you.

Filing a disability claim can be a life altering financial decision for you and your family. You should not undertake such a serious endeavor without qualified legal representation.


Why Was I Denied Disability in North Carolina?

by Vaughn Clauson on January 12, 2017

One who has applied for disability in North Carolina will either be approved or denied. If you are one who has applied and been approved, congratulations! If you are one of the many who have been denied, you start to ask the number one question, Why?

Why were you denied disability in North Carolina? The main reason most people are denied is they do not have the proper medical evidence for a case manager to approve their disability request. When you first become disabled, it is imperative you maintain any and all of your medical records, physcian’s prescribed therapies and any additional evidence to approve your case. This will go a long way in determining your approval.

Denied Disability in North Carolina

Another reason many people are denied disability is they may not meet the criteria set in place to approve your case. Disability benefits can be confusing. The process can be frustrating. You may still be able to work and still are denied. The best thing one can do is consult with one of the attorneys at Clauson Law Firm. Clauson Law Firm will review your Social Security disability case for free. We are here to help you. Please contact us through our website

If you are denied, do not give up. Many people only apply once and are denied. Do not make the mistake of not using the ability to appeal the denial of the disability benefits. If your appeal is denied you still have the option of appealing the decision again. you may qualify for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) instead of SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) An attorney at Clauson Law Firm is here to help you in your process.

People who have worked a number of years know you have a certain part of your paycheck which goes towards your social security benefits. Disability benefit qualifications vary compared to retirement benefits. Every year a person works they earn a maximum of 4 credits towards social security and disability benefits. In 2016 a person will earn 1 credit for every $1,260 dollars of net earnings. Retirement benefits will be awarded when a person accumulates 40 credits or 10 years of work. Disability benefits are different and are determined based on how old the person is when they became disabled.

Here is an age guide for what age you became disabled, the number of credits needed and the years of work needed. This also can be found at


31 through 42    20                               5

44                       22                               5 ½

46                      24                               6

48                      26                               6 ½

50                        28                               7

52                       30                               7 ½

54                       32                               8

56                       34                               8 ½

58                       36                               9

60                       38                               9 ½

62 or older          40                            10

Clauson Law Firm is here to assist you with your disability case. Please contact us for a free review of your case. We have attorneys in several areas of North Carolina to meet with you as needed.


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