Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in North Carolina?
Applying for Disability in North Carolina
How far back do you get disability benefits in North Carolina?
Can You Work and Collect Social Security Disability in North Carolina?
How long does it take for the disability decision in North Carolina?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
How to Get the Status on Your Social Security Disability Claim in North Carolina
Do you have to go to a Social Security hearing in North Carolina to get approved for disability?
Getting a Social Security disability award in North Carolina
Getting approved for mental disability benefits in North Carolina
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
What are the disability qualifications in North Carolina?
Proving the requirements for disability in North Carolina
Improving your chances of getting disability in North Carolina
Disability determination services in North Carolina
Winning disability benefits in North Carolina
How to claim disability benefits in North Carolina
1. You will need to file an application with the Social Security Administration. You can do this in several different ways: you can file online; you can file in person at a local Social Security office; or, you can contact the local Social Security office and arrange to have your disability application interview conducted over the phone.
My own advice is that the last two options are preferable to filing a claim for disability benefits online.
This is because speaking with a representative at the Social Security office, whether on the phone, or directly across from you in person, will give you the opportunity to ask many questions that you may never have the chance to have asked answered so conveniently and directly again.
Also, most likely, you'll probably not know in advance of filing your claim for disability benefits whether or not your claim will be for title II Social Security disability, title 16 SSI disability, or both types of benefits in the form of what is called a "concurrent "claim.
The issue here is that an SSI disability claim cannot be taken online because SSI involves a more thorough investigation of a person's income and assets. Therefore, if there is even a slight chance that your claim will involve SSI, you will probably want to work directly with the Social Security office, versus the SSA website.
2. When you are interviewed by a Social Security CR, or claims representative, it would be most helpful to have already written down both your work history and your history of medical treatment.
Chances are, the decision that is reached on your case will be based on both vocational and medical information, and it is for this reason that it is crucial that you do not leave out any important information, such as names of doctors, places of treatment, detailed descriptions of the jobs you have performed in the past, etc.
Writing down your medical treatment history and your work history before your interview will help ensure that you do not leave out any important information. All of this information that is recorded at the disability application interview will end up going to the disability examiner who will be evaluating your claim and making a decision on your case.
3. After your disability claim has been started, your case file will be transferred to NCDDS, otherwise known as North Carolina disability determination services. At DDS, it will be assigned to a disability examiner. The examiner will send off for your medical records and will wait until either all, or the majority, of these records have been received.
Once the examiner receives the records, he or she will go through them to see if you have a condition that fits the qualifications for a specific medical condition that is listed in the Social Security bluebook, I.e. the Social Security disability list of impairments.
Most likely, your case will not be approved through a listing, since the approval criteria is fairly detailed and requires a high level of detail and documentation from a person's medical records.
The majority of individuals who do receive a Social Security disability award, or SSI disability award in North Carolina, will be approved through what is known as a medical-vocational allowance, where the decision is made that a person has too many functional limitations to allow them to go back to a former job, or switch to some type of new "other work".
Of course, the more medical information the disability examiner has at their disposal, potentially the more limitations they will be able to find for you. Functional limitations are things such as reduced ability to sit, stand, walk, lift more than a certain amount of weight, hear or see normally, etc.
Functional limitations can take practically any form, because it is simply a reduction in your ability to do any basic daily activity. If your condition affects your ability to remember, or concentrate, or interact with people, this would also be a functional limitation. If you have trouble bending at the waist or reaching overhead, this, as well, would be a functional limitation.
4. While your claim is being worked on by the disability examiner, they may call you to obtain additional information about your work history, medical condition, or any of the treatment that you have received.
They may also call you to conduct what is known as an activities of daily living, or ADL, questionnaire. This is simply where they ask you about your daily activities, and the point of this is to determine how you are affected by your condition on a normal daily basis.
5. If you have not been to a doctor in a fair amount of time, or if you have not been treated specifically for any of the conditions that you listed on your disability application, there's a very good chance you'll be sent to a CE. This stands for consultative examination; it is basically a medical examination conducted by a private doctor, paid for by Social Security.
A CE may be a mental examination, or it may be a physical examination. If the examination is physical, then it will probably be fairly short, usually about 10 minutes in length. If the examination is mental, it will either be a type of interview, such as a mental status exam, or an IQ test, or a memory exam.
The results of the CE will usually have very little impact on the outcome of your case, though it will be more likely to affect the outcome of your case if the exam is a mental examination. As we stated, a consultative examination is usually ordered when you do not have current medical record documentation, or you do not have records to address one of your conditions.
How long will it take to reach a decision on your case? On most cases, an examiner will be able to determine if your claim should be approved or denied within 120 days. Some cases do take longer, and there is no deadline for a decision on a case; meaning, essentially, that your case will simply take as long as it will take.
What are the odds of being approved, especially at the initial claim level? Only about one in three disability claims in NC are approved initially.
This means, unfortunately, there is a high degree of chance that you will have to file one or more appeals before winning disability benefits in North Carolina.
Typically, of course, a person will have to file a reconsideration appeal which is likely to be denied and then, after that, a request for hearing where the chances of being approved rise to more than 60% when representation is involved on the case.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Individual Questions and Answers
Social Security Disability and SSI in North Carolina
The Social Security Administration administers two disability programs in North Carolina. They are Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability.
If you are a resident of North Carolina, you may contact your local Social Security office for a telephone or an in-person disability interview. There are local Social Security offices in the following cities: Ahoskie, Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Charlotte, Concord, Durham, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Franklin, Gastonia, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Henderson, Hendersonville Hickory, Kinston, Lumberton, Mt. Airy, New Bern, Raleigh, Reidsville, Roanoke Rapids, Rockingham, Rocky Mount, Salisbury, Sanford, Shelby, Smithfield, Statesville, Washington, Whiteville, Wilkesboro, Wilmington, Wilson, and Winston-Salem.
For a listing of contact numbers and addresses, click here: Social Security offices in North Carolina.
Unlike many other states, North Carolina has a centralized system for disability determinations, which means there is one location for the state disability agency which renders initial claim decisions for SSA. This agency is known as DDS, or Disability Determination Services and is located in Raleigh. At some point after filing your claim, you may be contacted by a disability examiner at DDS, or you may wish to provide updated information to your examiner.
For DDS contact information, click here: North Carolina Disability Determination Services.
Social Security disability hearings are held at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review or simply ODAR. North Carolina has ODAR offices in the following cities: Fayetteville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh. Your residential address will determine which office your hearing will be held at.
The current time in months it takes for a hearing to be held after being requested:
Charlotte NC hearing office 16.5
Fayetteville NC hearing office 14.0
Greensboro NC hearing office 16.0
Raleigh NC hearing office 13.0
Average number of days for a case to be completed at a North Carolina hearing office:
Greensboro NC hearing office 486
Fayetteville NC hearing office 454
Charlotte NC hearing office 441
Raleigh NC hearing office 406
For a listing of Hearing office addresses and contact information, click here: North Carolina Social Security Hearing offices.