SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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 long does it take to get through the disability system in North Carolina?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
How long it takes to get through the system and receive disability benefits in North Carolina will usually boil down to one thing: that is, how many levels of the system your case actually has to go through.
If you are approved for disability benefits on your initial claim, i.e. the application, then your involvement with the disability system may only be a matter of months. In most instances, a decision on an initial claim will be made in under six months, and very often between three and four months.
Everything changes, however, when a disability case in North Carolina gets denied. When this happens, the claimant will find themselves in the position of having to file appeals.
The first appeal in North Carolina is the "request for reconsideration". This appeal is also handled by NC DDS. Disability determination services is the state-level agency where disability examiners process decisions on cases for the Social Security Administration.
The reconsideration appeal has a ridiculously high rate of approval; usually, more than 80% of reconsiderations are denied in any given year. Ordinarily, the only useful thing we can say about the reconsideration stage is that going through it will allow a person to file their next appeal, which is a request for a Social Security hearing before a federal administrative law judge.
Unfortunately, the reconsideration appeal also consumes time. In most cases, a reconsideration will not take as long as an initial claim. However, that said, it may still add anywhere between 1 to 4 more months of case processing time.
Once the reconsideration stage is completed (and this usually is in the context of being turned down again), an individual may request their second appeal, a disability hearing.
It is at this point that a person will encounter their longest delay and wait. It will usually take many months to get a hearing scheduled after one has been requested, either directly by a claimant or by their disability representative.
How long does it take to get a disability hearing appointment? Due to considerable backlogs in North Carolina, at one point in the recent past it could easily take well over two years to get a hearing after a hearing request had been submitted.
Currently, the estimate is that it takes an average of 11 1/2 months to get a hearing scheduled after the request has been made.
However, this is not the end of the process. Even if an individual goes to a disability hearing, and receives an approval for benefits, they will still have to wait for the judge to render an official decision, which can take weeks or months.
As you can see, the entire process of filing for disability in NC can realistically extend to two years, or longer.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page
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.