Is It Harder Or Easier To Get Social Security Disability Depending Upon Where You Live?

Oct 12, 2011 Comments Off on Is It Harder Or Easier To Get Social Security Disability Depending Upon Where You Live? by

Answer: I wish I could say that it makes no difference where you live but the truth is that there can be geographic differences at Social Security.

Let’s start out looking at the initial and reconsideration levels  and their regional differences.  North Carolina is in Social Security’s Atlanta region. Social Security’s Atlanta Region has somewhat lower allowance rates than other regions other than the Dallas Region. Before you jump to the conclusion that things are just worse in the South, consider that there are just a lot more claims filed in the South. Demographics have something to do with it but some important disability decisions are made at the regional level and these decisions can influence many cases.

At the state level, the differences between the states within a region are not that great but there are some. North Carolina does not stand out as either a high or low allowance state within the Atlanta Region. Demographics probably explain whatever differences there are. North Carolina is just a different state in many ways than Florida, for instance.

You would not find any significant differences within North Carolina at the initial and reconsideration levels.

When we talk about cases at the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) level, we see significant differences between hearing offices. These differences have mostly to do with chance. Some offices happen to have more ALJs that approve a lot of claims and others have more ALJs who deny a lot of claims. Your case can be assigned to an office that approves a lot of appeals but you may get assigned to an ALJ who denies a lot of claims — or vice versa.

There are four ALJ offices in North Carolina. The Raleigh office covers cities such as Raleigh, Durham, Smithfield, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Greenville and Roanoke Rapids. The Raleigh office, on the whole is moderately conservative. The Fayetteville office covers cities such as  Fayetteville, Sanford, Lumberton and Clinton. It is also moderately conservative. The Greensboro office covers cities such as Greensboro, Burlington, Winston-Salem, High Point and Lexington. It is more middle of the road. I am just not familiar enough with the Charlotte office to tell you much about how claimants are faring there at the moment. Also, some areas of North Carolina are covered by offices in Charleston, SC and Greenville, SC. Again, I am not familiar enough with those offices at this point to tell you much about them.

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About the author

Charles Hall is the lead attorney for the Charles Hall Law Firm in Raleigh, NC. He has been practicing in the Social Security Disability law field since 1979, is published, and is ready to help new clients win their benefits in North Carolina.