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Legal Representation for Social Security Disability Cases in Wilmington

Have you or a loved one been denied Social Security disability benefits? The Law Offices of James B. Gillespie, Jr., PLLC represents clients throughout Southeastern North Carolina.

We can help you with your appeal if you have applied and been turned down for Social Security disability, widow's disability benefits or benefits for an adult who was disabled prior to age twenty-two (22).

We have successfully represented claimants for hundreds of medical conditions:

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurological
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Stomach
  • Kidney problems
  • Digestive disorders
  • Pulmonary issues of many types
  • Systemic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension
  • Specific injuries, like broken bones and torn muscles
  • All types of mental and emotional problems, ranging from autism through schizophrenia, and many other illnesses

We currently represent clients throughout Southeastern North Carolina, including New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus and Duplin counties.

Our firm's senior attorney, James B. Gillespie, Jr., is a native of Wilmington. The North Carolina State Bar has recognized Mr. Gillespie as a board-certified specialist in Social Security Disability and in North Carolina worker’s compensation. Mr. Gillespie is the only attorney in Wilmington who is a board-certified specialist in Social Security Disability. He has been doing Social Security representation since 1976.

The North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act

Who Gets Disability Benefits?

Anyone who is not able to work because of an accident, injury or medical condition and may be out of work for at least a year can apply for disability benefits at the Social Security office. Whether or not someone is disabled is a combination of a legal question and a medical question. It is very important that you have the support of medical professionals. If you cannot afford a doctor, please ask us about free or low cost medical care available in Southeastern North Carolina.

You can make your application online at You can contact your local Social Security office, or call the Social Security toll-free number at 800-472-1213. If you receive a denial on your application, you should contact our office as soon as possible. Social Security allows you a limited period to appeal your denial. If you are denied, it may take a long time to go through the appeal process (a year or longer), so it is important to start your application as soon as possible.

Even if you are receiving workers' compensation benefits or disability benefits from your employer, you should apply for Social Security Disability. Some of these benefits may "offset” each other, but there are significant advantages in having both approved. The fact that you receive unemployment does create a complication, but it should not stop you from making the application.

Why Hire a Disability Attorney?

It is your benefit to have an attorney.

Attorneys are trained to present cases in ways that nonattorneys are not. If the claim goes beyond an administrative law judge, it has to go before a judge of the United States District Court. Only licensed attorneys admitted to practice before the federal court can file those lawsuits and appear in the courtroom. Mr. Gillespie has extensive experience and a successful history of representation in federal court.

We do not charge for consultations or assistance with the appeal process. The amount any representative can charge for Social Security representation is regulated by the Social Security Administration (one-fourth of benefits payable up until the time the administrative law judge makes a decision, up to a maximum of $6,000). How much an individual can recover depends on a combination of how long they have been disabled, when they applied for disability, their earnings over their lifetime and other factors.

It costs no more to hire an attorney board certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a specialist than to hire a nonattorney or out-of-state firm.

Why Should You Hire Our Firm?

We have been representing people for disability benefits in Southeastern North Carolina for more than 30 years. We have extensive experience with the judges of the Social Security Administration and are in daily contact with them and their staff. We have appealed Social Security claims into the federal district courts and to the United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, when necessary.

Because our firm undertakes representation for legal issues of disability including workers' compensation and long-term disability, we have to prove a medical condition, which could reasonably be expected to cause the degree of disability you allege. Our experience in the evaluation of medical conditions and their functional limitations, and the presentation of these conditions to decision making bodies gives our firm a unique opportunity to win disability claims before the Social Security Administration.

On a professional level, we have made multiple presentations before state and national organizations teaching other attorneys how to represent claimants. We have published manuscripts that continue to be used by practitioners nationwide in various aspects of Social Security disability representation. Our senior attorney was recognized in the first group of attorneys certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a board-certified specialist in Social Security disability representation in the fall of 2007, one of only 40 recognized and the only one in Wilmington, North Carolina.