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When is a Charlotte, North Carolina resident “disabled” according to the Social Security law and regulations?

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The advice and guidance of an experienced North Carolina Social Security disability lawyer can be invaluable. Call the Bridgman Law Firm at (704) 815-6055.

Under the Social Security Act, which applies to all Charlotte, North Carolina residents seeking disability benefits, a person is disabled if he or she is unable “to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” More precisely, you are “under a disability” in the eyes of the Social Security Administration only if you are so severely impaired that (1) you cannot do the work you did previously or (2) considering your “residual functional capacity” (that is, your age, education and work experience), you cannot do “any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.”

Work is “substantial” and “gainful” if it is the type of work that is useful in the accomplishment of a job or the operation of a business and is normally done for pay (in cash or in kind) or profit (even if no pay or profit is realized). Activities surrounding a hobby or school attendance or a social program generally are not “substantial gainful work.”

Even if the Social Security Administration determines you are capable of substantial gainful work, you may still be found “disabled” if there is no work available for you in the national economy. Work “exists in the national economy” if it “exists in significant numbers, either in the region where such individual lives or in several regions of the country.” Thus, jobs need not be available in Charlotte, North Carolina, but, conversely, a job that exists only in very limited numbers or in relatively few geographic areas does not “exist in the national economy.” This ensures that a Charlotte, North Carolina resident seeking disability benefits will not be awarded benefits simply on the basis of lack of jobs in Charlotte, nor denied benefits on the basis of the presence in the economy of isolated jobs that he or she could perform.

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