Should I work with a local lawyer or a national firm for my Social Security Disability claims?

When searching for the best representation for your Social Security Disability case, you’ll notice there are both local and national firms to choose from. National firms may have larger teams and slicker marketing pitches, but there is a lot they cannot offer from far away. Local firms tend to be more personable and because they have roots in your community, they are able to provide a level of service and personalized attention that is impossible to replicate from halfway across the country.

Why hire a North Carolina Disability attorney?

Burch & Rodgers is already far ahead of the national competition. We are familiar with the judges in the circuit. This can make a big difference when the time comes to present your case. With our combined 60+ years of experience, we are also familiar with many of the employees at the Social Security offices. Relationships matter and with a local firm, you’ll have a leg up over the national firms.

If you have any questions, we want to be able to clearly and carefully answer them for you. Wouldn’t that be better than calling some national hotline every time you had a question? Doing this process right is a very important part of your future. Money may be tight, but we charge no fees unless you win.

Choose a local firm that knows how Social Security Disability cases work locally and will work to get to know you. We serve residents from the Triangle area, and surrounding areas to the east, like Rocky Mount, Wilson, Fayetteville, Johnston County and Lumberton.

Hire local, experienced attorneys like the ones at Burch & Rodgers. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Age matters in disability determinations. For those over 50, the system will apply slightly different rules that may make it easier to qualify for disability. This is because the Social Security Administration assumes that those over 50 will not have as easy a time in finding new lines of work or learning new job skills.

In order to determine whether you will be able to transfer to a new line of work, the SSA looks at:

  • The levels of education achieved
  • Skills used in past work
  • Certifications or skills that will be useful in a new line of work
  • The degree of physical effort needed in the potential new career compared to existing career

Levels of Physical Effort

The SSA will consider your residual functional capacity. They will look at potential and past jobs and judge the level of physical effort. Here are the four major categories.

  • Sedentary: a job where you are seated and occasionally lift 10 pounds
  • Light: a job where you frequently lift 10 pounds and occasionally 20 pounds
  • Medium: a job requiring you to lift 25 pounds frequently and occasionally 50 pounds
  • Heavy: a job requiring you to frequently lift over 50 pounds

If you are over 50, Burch & Rodgers can help you navigate through the complex process. Those in Raleigh and eastern North Carolina who need a board-certified expert in Social Security Disability law to look at their claim and help them apply should contact Burch & Rodgers.

Life is good. Then something happens, and you find yourself sidelined as a result of a disability. It can be a long wait to receive financial help through the Social Security Administration. What should you do in the meantime? A disability is stressful, and you’re worried about everything. You have bills to pay, and you have people who depend on you. Your mental and physical health should be your priority, but how can you cope with the many stressors that are surrounding you?

It is important for your health and your case that you get medical treatment while your claim is pending. Most of us receive our medical insurance through our employment. Unfortunately, most of us lose coverage once we are unable to work. Without insurance coverage, it is very difficult to get the medical treatment that you need.

Here are some suggestions:

  • You may qualify for Medicaid. You can apply through your local Department of Social Services.
  • Another avenue is charity care. Some clinics and hospitals provide treatment at low or no cost if you meet certain income requirements.
  • There is also help available to get your prescription medications at low or no cost through the Prescription Assistance Program. Please ask your doctor to help you apply.

Once you are approved for disability benefits, you will qualify for Medicaid or Medicare depending on your entitlement.

Laurie Burch and Kevin Rodgers can counsel you on how to receive care while your claim is pending. You deserve a compassionate, knowledgeable, board-certified attorney. Let Burch and Rodgers handle the burdens of the paperwork, dealing with SSA and the complicated law. Then you can concentrate on your health.

Call us today for a free, no obligation, consultation.

You’ve worked hard your entire life. Something unforeseen happens, and you find yourself out of work on disability, struggling both physically and financially. You turn to the Social Security Disability Insurance program that was promised to help you in case of need. Thank goodness the government has provided for you…or has it?

To put your benefits in place, you have to navigate through a maze of gathering, filling out, and filing paperwork that has thirteen separate headings and over thirty subsections. Next, it’s on to getting doctors’ and employers’ input, navigating the computer requirements for submission, and waiting for updates and questions from the SSA. Then there’s the possibility of getting denied, refiling under a limited schedule, and then there’s waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

According to their website, the “SSA is facing a considerable increase in initial and reconsideration disability claims, resulting in a significant backlog.” They admit to it, but how “significant” is that backlog? Realize when the SSA refers to a “backlog” they are referring to disability claims that are pending.

Currently, nearly one million people are stuck in a hearing-decision backlog that averages 599 days (20 months), and in some cities and states, wait times of up to 772 days. The benefits that you’ve paid for through payroll taxes aren’t there when you need them the most. This delay in receiving benefits was recently called “one of the country’s worst, but least-understood embarrassments.”

Here’s a statistic that’s even more chilling. According to commentary from March 2018, “ . . . more than 10,000 people died waiting to hear if they would be awarded insurance benefits that they had worked for years to earn — a 15 percent increase over the previous year.” This is a crisis, and there’s an anticipated rise in disability claims in the coming years.

You’ve worked hard to get what you’re entitled to receive. You need an attorney who specializes in Social Security law in North Carolina to help facilitate this process. You need someone who is board certified in Social Security law and is current on the latest information. You need someone who knows the judges, doctors, and other professionals who will help decide if you will receive benefits. You need Laurie Burch and Kevin Rogers because Social Security Disability cases are their sole area of specialization. Your case is their priority.

Call us today for a free consultation to help you navigate the maze.

An attorney has completed law school, passed a bar exam and been licensed by the state. An attorney must complete several hours of continuing legal education every year. A lawyer must follow a strict code of conduct. A NON-attorney representative is not trained in the law. Here is why you should choose a licensed attorney rather than an advocate.

  • A Social Security Disability attorney has the legal background necessary to provide you full representation before all levels of appeal, especially at the hearing level.
  • All legal details will be prepared by the attorneys, taking the burden off your shoulders.
  • Attorneys Burch & Rodgers will prepare strategy specific to your case.
  • The chances of victory in your Social Security Disability case are substantially increased when you have an attorney who understands the law, can gather evidence, track down medical information and shoulder the legal burden.

Contact Burch & Rodgers to talk to one of our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys today.

Secure Your SSD Benefits with Strong Support from Burch & Rodgers

Fayetteville is home to many military members and their families, and Burch & Rodgers provides the experience and skills needed to navigate SSA’s disability benefits process. Whether you need help with an initial application or an appeal, our firm helps you get the benefits you deserve. We aim to provide support for our clients without adding unnecessary financial stress to their lives; we only collect fees if you win your case.

What are Social Security disability benefits?

Chances are you’ve heard about the disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but you may not have a clear line of sight on what those benefits look like for you. Generally speaking, these benefits include monetary coverage for disabled workers and their dependents, including wounded warriors and veterans.

Two main programs are used to provide these benefits to eligible and accepted applicants: Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.

Who Is & Is Not Eligible to Apply?

There are lots of rules, regulations and guidelines to follow to determine if you’re eligible to apply for SSA disability benefits. Rest assured, if you live in Fayetteville, NC and are wondering about whether or not you can apply, we can help!

Generally, you must meet two requirements to submit an application:

  1. You must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Please note there are additional requirements based on the number of years worked and the age you are when you become disabled. We are happy to help clarify what this means for your unique situation, give us a call.
  2. You must have a medical condition that meets the definition of disability provided by the SSA. Please note, the definition of disability is different under Social Security than it is for other government programs. According to the SSA website, they consider a person disabled under their rules if:
    1. The person cannot do work that they did before;
    2. The SSA decides that the person cannot adjust to other work because of their medical condition(s); and
    3. The person’s disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Special Eligibility For Wounded Warriors, Veterans & More

If you are a veteran and/or wounded warrior, if you are blind or have low vision, if are a widow/widower of a worker, or if you have a disabled child, these are all unique situations where it is possible to meet the criteria for receiving additional disability benefits from the SSA.

If you have questions about whether these special situations apply to you or a member of your family, please reach out to our team. Our qualified representatives are here to clear the air and explain the nuances of the disability benefits process.

Has Your Claim Been Denied? We’ll Fight For The Benefits You Deserve

If you already submitted your application for Social Security disability benefits and it was denied, we understand that it can feel like the end of the road for receiving the benefits you deserve. But remember: millions of people apply for these benefits every single year with the expectation that it will be instantly approved. In reality, the cogs of the Social Security Administration’s processes don’t always turn that smoothly.

In fact, upwards of 72% of all initial applications submitted by citizens are not approved by the Social Security Administration. Thankfully, there are local attorneys in Fayetteville, like the Burch & Rodgers firm, who specialize in precisely this area of the law. We provide personalized assistance in appealing a denial, so you have the best shot at approval. When you choose a skilled social security disability attorney to represent you, they will work with you to get you the benefits needed to make ends meet.

Don’t give up hope–the attorneys at Burch & Rodgers are here to help. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the requirements and the processes needed to receive these benefits, but you can count on Burch & Rodgers to help you navigate the twists and turns with ease.

Choose Burch & Rodgers to Go to Bat For You

We have a combined 60+ years of experience practicing Social Security Disability law in North Carolina, and every single disability case we handle is essential to our team. This experience lends itself to more promising outcomes for our clients, as well.

Contact a Lawyer About Your Fayetteville Social Security Claim

Choose the lawyers at Burch & Rodgers to aggressively pursue your appeal. Call our toll-free number today to speak with a qualified representative: 800-662-8702.

Not ready to pick up the phone yet but still have questions? Send us a note via our contact form, and we’ll be in touch shortly to assist you.

By Denise Mullen, Assistant Director of Legal Specialization

I recently had the opportunity to talk with law partners Laurie Burch and Kevin Rodgers, both board-certified specialists practicing in Raleigh. Burch attended Campbell University School of Law and Rodgers received his law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. Each began their legal career in Social Security Disability law: Rodgers as a Hyatt Lawyer, and Burch in private practice.

They formed Burch & Rodgers in 2000 after working together at a larger firm for nearly a decade. In 2006 when the Board of Legal Specialization launched the new certification in Social Security Disability law, they quickly signed up for the exam. Their firm is one of only a few in the state in which all of the lawyers are board-certified specialists. Following are some of their comments about the specialization program and the impact it has had on their firm.

Q: When you established Burch & Rodgers, what was your vision for the firm?

A: Burch – We knew that the firm would specialize in Social Security Disability law. We knew that we worked well together and that we shared the common goal of doing our absolute best for clients with Social Security and disability problems.

Rodgers – The reality is that the work has become much more difficult in recent years as procedures are changing and the Social Security Administration has faced budget problems. Our firm’s vision, however, remains the same — to provide our clients with the best representation and counsel possible.

Q: Does certification help the firm and your clients?

A: Rodgers – Yes, it does. We’ve all had extensive training in Social Security law and have attained a depth of knowledge in that one practice area. We don’t handle a mix of cases — we handle this one type of case and we are committed to doing it well. Clients are better educated now than even ten years ago; they know what to look for in a lawyer.

Q: What do your clients say about your certification?

A: Burch – Some come into the office having done a lot of research beforehand and already knowing that we are board-certified. They see it as a good thing. They appreciate the extra effort that we’ve made and our commitment to Social Security Disability law.

Rodgers – Clients can now file their own forms with the Social Security Administration. There are so many different types of claims to choose from that it can be very confusing. In many cases, there are also peripheral issues, like retirement or unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation claims that really require a sophisticated understanding of the law. Our clients look to us to help them figure out what’s best for their particular situation.

Q: How do clients find you? What are your best referral sources?

A: Burch – Most of our referrals come from former, satisfied clients.

Rodgers – We also get a fair number from workers’ compensation attorneys.

Q: Are there any hot topics in your practice area?

A: Rodgers – There are a few very large, out-of-state law firms handling cases here in North Carolina. They send forms to clients through the mail and don’t actually meet their clients or appear in person at the hearing. In addition, many of the hearings are now handled through video conferencing rather than in person.

Burch – That’s why it’s so important to us that we meet our clients before and at the hearing. We view our clients’ credibility as a very important part of the case that we’re handling.

Q: Does certification benefit the legal profession?

A: Rodgers – Attorneys do a better job, in general, when they focus on learning one area well. When we studied for the specialization exam, we all learned something new that then helped us in our practice.

Q: Any tips for other lawyers preparing to take the exam?

A: Burch – There are many resources available to help with studying, including the NOSSCR (National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives) monthly newsletters and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice list-serve.

Rodgers – It is a challenging test, so I would recommend taking a review course, talking with other lawyers who took the exam and to start memorizing numbers – things like limits, dates, and exceptions. Having some of those things memorized will help answer some of the questions quickly and leave additional time for thought on the more complicated questions.

Q: How do you see the future of specialization?

A: Rodgers – These days you can’t be competitive unless you specialize, particularly in a city like Raleigh where there are so many attorneys. It’s more and more difficult to have a general practice and do good work — clients figure out which attorneys are good at handling complex cases.

Attorney Guide: 101Attorney.com is an online attorney resource website that provides attorney news, attorney guide, attorney finder, etc.

For more information on the State Bar’s specialization program, please visit us on the web at nclawspecialist.gov.