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New federal regulations on disability

The Social Security Administration recently revised federal regulations which may affect the ability of some residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, to get approval for Social Security disability benefits. Critics of these regulations are concerned that the changes put applicants at a disadvantage when it comes to trying to prove that their medical conditions indeed make them unable to work.

To be clear, the standing rule has always been that the Social Security Administration, and not a person's doctor, gets to decide whether a North Carolina resident is disabled or not. However, until these recent rule changes, a person applying for disability could count on the administration to give special weight to the person's treating physician's opinion as to the severity and extent of a person's illness or injury.

Under the revised rules, the Administration has no obligation to give special weight to the treating physician of someone applying for benefits. A person's treating physician will be given the same weight as any other medical professional, and the administration will consider a number of factors when determining how creditable the physician's statements about the patient's medical condition are.

The new rules make other important changes as well, but the overall effect seems to be that when a person comes before the Social Security Administration, they have an independent obligation to present a convincing case that they are indeed disabled under the law. What this means in practice is that is more important than ever for Charlotte residents who need disability benefits to gather and organize any and all information which shows that they cannot work and qualify for benefits.

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  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice Protecting People’s rights
  • NOSSCR National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
  • American Association for Justice formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America ATLA
  • ABA American Bar Association
  • NOVA
  • North Carolina State Bar
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