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 do I win disability benefits in North Carolina?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
To win disability benefits in North Carolina, a case must satisfy the Social Security Administration's own unique definition of disability.
The definition essentially states that a person must have at least one severe condition, which may be mental or physical in nature, and that the condition must last for at least one full year, and may potentially result in death.
How do you prove that one, or more, of your conditions meet this definition?
After you apply for disability at a Social Security office in North Carolina, your case will be transferred to a disability examiner at North Carolina disability determination services, otherwise known as NC DDS.
Disability decisions at NC DDS usually take between 3 to 4 months (though they can take much longer, especially if the examiner has some difficulty obtaining your records from your treatment sources, or if you need to be scheduled for multiple consultative examinations) and typically have a fairly high rate of denial.
In some years, the approval rate may have gone as high as 35%, but in most years it tends to hover around 30%.
How does the disability examiner work on your case? The examiner is a claims specialist who will request medical records and review them, looking for signs of limitations in your ability to do basic, normal daily activities, which translates into your ability to perform a job.
The disability examiner uses a sequential evaluation process to see if your case meets the SSA definition of disability. Several questions are asked in this process.
The first question is whether or not you are currently working and earning what Social Security considers to be a substantial and gainful income. If you do happen to be working when you file for disability, most likely your claim will be denied that point. Your case will not even be sent to a disability examiner to have your medical records requested and evaluated.
If you are not working, the next question is whether or not your condition is considered severe versus nonsevere.
For example, if your only condition is an ankle sprain, most likely you will be considered to have a nonsecure condition and you will be turned down for disability benefits.
If your condition is considered to be severe, however, and this could be anything including even simple back pain, your case will move on to a real consideration of what your medical records have to say about your condition, or conditions.
At this point, the NC disability examiner will be going through the records they have obtained from your doctors, clinics, and hospitals.
What will the examiner be looking for specifically? Many people assume that the examiner is simply looking for a diagnosis of the condition. However, the process is more complex than that.
In the system used by the Social Security Administration, the condition you have is not nearly so important as the extent to which it limits your ability to engage in various areas of function.
Therefore, the examiner will be looking for evidence that you have trouble in any of the following areas: lifting more than a certain amount of weight, not being able to sit, stand, or walk for more than a certain amount of time, having trouble bending, stooping, reaching, grasping, seeing, hearing, remembering, concentrating etc, etc,etc.
Essentially, the examiner will be looking for signs of any reduced ability to do any basic physical or mental function. These are called "functional limitations".
After your functional limitations have been noted, the examiner will assess, or rate, your limitations on something known as an RFC, or residual functional capacity form. The ratings that you receive will be compared to the types of work you've done in the past, and this will be used to make two critical determinations on your case.
First of all, can you go back to one of your past jobs? Secondly, can you perform some type of other work based on your skills, education, and age, and functional capabilities?
If the answer to both questions is no, you will most likely receive a Social Security disability award, or an award for SSI if this is the program you applied
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.