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 for the disability decision in North Carolina?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
There is no deadline that applies to the processing of a case, or how long it takes to get a disability decision. The case may take one month to reach a decision, or it may take as long as a year in a few very limited cases.
That said, if you apply for disability in North Carolina and get approved at the initial claim level, or what is commonly referred to as the application level, your case may simply take what is considered to be the average amount of time for processing.
What is the "average "amount of time? This tends to vary by year. Officially, SSA has a time processing standard, or goal, of getting initial claim decisions done within 120 days.
Of course, it does not always work out this way. As a former disability examiner at NC DDS (NC disability determination services), I can clearly recall many instances in which cases took as long as six months, or more.
In some cases, the amount of time may have reached up to a year or longer if there were very extenuating circumstances, such as the claimant having to go to multiple consultative medical examinations, or if the claimant had to undergo additional surgeries (which would, unfortunately, force the claim to be put on deferred status until the outcome of the surgery was known).
Normally, of course, the decision on the claim will be reached within the 120 day timeframe. But this is not always true, certainly.
That is because there are several variables that can affect how long it takes a disability examiner to make a decision on the claim.
1. Is the disability examiner having trouble getting your medical records? If this is the case, it may be because the medical provider is slow in responding to requests for medical evidence of record, or MER. Butů it may be because the information about treatment sources that was submitted at the time of application on the disability report form (SSA-3368) was either incomplete, or inaccurate.
Some individuals make the assumption that the Social Security Administration has a complete database of doctors, hospitals, and clinics.. However, this is far from being true. To a large extent, Social Security--when it attempts to get your medical records--will rely entirely on the information, and the accuracy of it, that you provide.
This is why we always stress heavily that, when you go to the Social Security office to file your claim, make sure you have already written down all of your medical sources, going back to the time when your condition and symptoms first began. Be sure to include the names of all your doctors, all your conditions, and the full names and addresses of your treatment facilities. This will allow the examiner to successfully obtain your medical records, hopefully in the shortest amount of time possible.
Remember: the single largest delay on any case typically is the amount of time it takes the examiner at disability determination services to get your medical records gathered. Also--remember that the examiner cannot really even begin to work on your claim until the records have been received.
2. If you have to go to multiple CE scheduling's, this can certainly add a considerable amount of time to your case.
What is a CE? This dance for "consultative examination". A Consultative examination is an examination appointment that is set up for you by Social Security, specifically by the disability examiner who is working on your case.
The examination is performed by either a medical doctor, or by a licensed psychologist, or psychiatrist, if the exam is mental, meaning a mental status exam, or an intelligence test, or a memory test.
You are not responsible for the cost of the exam, and the exam is performed by a doctor who does not work for the Social Security administration, but, instead, is in private practice.
Note: it is extremely important for you to go to a consultative exam if one is scheduled for you. If you do not attend the examination appointment, your case may potentially be denied for failure to cooperate.
Of course, this gets back to one of the reasons as to why a person might have to go to multiple exams. Some individuals, in fact, have legitimate reasons for missing the appointment more than once. For example, they may be ill, or they may have had an auto accident, or they may have had a family emergency, etc.
When this happens, though, it can add many weeks of delay to the case out of the need to reschedule the exam, often with a different doctor. Therefore, if you were scheduled for an exam, make sure to go to the exam when it is scheduled because you do not want to add more time to your case... or run the risk of it being denied on the basis of failing to cooperate.
3. The disability examiner was working on your case may have a large caseload. Unfortunately, this is the worst reason for a delay in receiving a decision on your case. Because it has nothing to do with you, but, rather, the fact that Social Security is subject to sometimes very heavy backlogs in the system.
This is, of course, why we also heavily stress that a person who is experiencing significant functional limitations that impacts their ability to work, or work at the level they are accustomed to, should consider applying for disability benefits. And it is in this area that some level of discussion with a disability representative in North Carolina may be helpful in shedding light on a number of issues.
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.