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What are the disability qualifications in North Carolina?

To meet the qualifications for disability in North Carolina, a person filing a claim, under either the Social Security disability or SSI program, must prove--largely through the information contained in their medical records, but also through their vocational history--the following:

1. That their condition is severe.
2. That their condition has lasted (or can be projected to last) for a period of not less than one year.
3. That during this minimum one year period, they have not been able to, as a result of their condition (or conditions which is usually the case), work and earn what Social Security considers to be a substantial and gainful income.

As you can see, the fundamental issue for Social Security disability and SSI claims is whether or not a person can work; in fact, the issue is really not even whether a person can work, but whether they can work AND earn a substantial income.

This is why the Social Security evaluation process is focus is not just on a person's medical records, but also on their work history. And this is why a disability examiner may contact you to clarify information regarding the jobs you have worked in the past, as well as the duties of those jobs.

As far as the individual items above are concerned, Item 1 is relatively easy to prove, as Social Security can distinguish between what is, and what is not, a severe impairment.

Nonetheless, there is room for some subjectivity here. For example, a sprain of the wrist would not be considered a severe impairment, while "headaches" or "abdominal pain" may very well be since they may easily be indicative of a much larger medical problem.

Items two and three are also fairly clear cut as they will be plainly verified by the individual's medical records and work history.

All three of these disability qualifications are part of the Social Security Administration's unique definition of disability, Which applies to both the SSD and the SSI disability program.

However, we should also clarify several other facts regarding the two disability programs.

Short-term disability is not an option

The Social Security Administration does not offer any type of short-term disability benefit. In other words, to qualify for disability benefits, your condition must be, for lack of a better phrase, "long-term".

When we say long-term, however, do we also mean that your condition must be considered permanent, in order for you to meet the requirements for disability?

The answer is… yes and no. When a person is approved to receive disability benefits under SSD, or SSI, or under both programs in the form of a concurrent claim, the assumption is that their state of disability will be long-standing.

In fact, this is why the process of qualifying for disability requires that a person must have a disabling condition for a minimum period of one full year before they can be determined to be eligible to receive ongoing disability benefits.

Having said this, though, this does not necessarily mean that Social Security automatically concludes that a person's disability will be absolutely permanent.

For any individual that is awarded benefits, Social Security maintains the assumption that their condition may "potentially" improve. This is why, after disability benefits are awarded, a person's case will be set up for periodic reviews. The purpose of a review is to determine whether or not medical improvement has taken place.

If medical improvement occurs, there is the possibility that an individual's disability benefits will be discontinued. However, it is somewhat rare for a person's disability benefits to be stopped, simply because, for most individuals, the medical evidence will not indicate that their condition has gotten better. Therefore, for this reason, there is usually little reason to fear a continuing disability review.

How often do reviews of your case happen? They can occur as little as one year after your case been approved; however, some cases are set to be reviewed every seven years. Having said this, though, sometimes reviews can take much longer than this simply because Social Security is perpetually behind on cases.

To reiterate, Social Security does not provide short-term disability benefits.

For Social Security and SSI you must be 100% disabled

Social Security also does not provide percentage-based disability benefits. For example, unlike veterans disability benefits, a person cannot receive a 30% disability benefit, or a 60% disability benefit. For Social Security purposes, a person either meets the qualifications for disability, or they do not.

The process of evaluating a disability claim, under Social Security regulations and guidelines, is fairly simple in concept. A person's medical records will be evaluated, and whatever functional limitations they have as result of their medical condition, or conditions, will be determined.

How NC disability claims are decided

These limitations will be compared to the requirements of the jobs they have held in the past to determine if they can go back to one of their past jobs, or if they cannot do any of their past work at all.

If a claimant cannot do their past work, then the next question to resolve is whether or not they can transfer their education, work skills, and job experience to some type of other work, essentially some type of job they've never done before. If the answer to this question is no, as well, meaning that they cannot be expected to do some type of other work, then they will be given a disability award.

So, to sum up, receiving disability under SSD or SSI is based on your inability to do A) any of the jobs you've done before, and B) any other type of work that you might have been able to switch to if you were not disabled.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Filing for NC disability benefits

Applying for Disability in North Carolina - How to apply, qualify, and meet filing requirements

Applying for NC disability benefits

More about filing for disability benefits in North Carolina

How to claim disability benefits in North Carolina

What happens on a disability application in North Carolina?

How long will it take to receive NC disability benefits if your application is approved?

Basic questions about disability benefits in North Carolina

How much can you receive in disability backpay 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 to Get the Status on Your Social Security Disability Claim in North Carolina

How do I get help to win my disability claim in North Carolina?

The disability process in North Carolina

What condition or conditions qualifies for disability in North Carolina?

How long does it take to get through the disability system in North Carolina?

Is it hard to get disability benefits in North Carolina?

What are my chances of being approved for disability benefits in North Carolina?

How long does it take to receive North Carolina disability benefits after you are approved?

Disability determination services in North Carolina

Disability decisions in North Carolina

How long does it take for the disability decision in North Carolina?

How does the North Carolina Social Security disability determination process work?

Getting disability benefits in North Carolina

Getting denied for disability in North Carolina and filing appeals

What does getting disability benefits in North Carolina involve?

How to get on disability in North Carolina

NC Disability requirements and qualifications

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in North Carolina?

What is the criteria for disability benefits in North Carolina?

What are the disability qualifications in North Carolina?

Proving the requirements for disability in North Carolina

How do you meet the Disability qualifications in North Carolina?

SSI and Social Security Disability requirements in North Carolina

How do I Know If I Qualify For Disability in North Carolina?

Winning Disability benefits in NC

How do I win disability benefits in North Carolina?

Improving your chances of getting disability in North Carolina

How to improve the chances of winning a North Carolina disability hearing

Will an attorney or representative help me win North Carolina disability benefits?

Winning disability benefits in North Carolina

Mental Disability benefits in NC

Receiving disability for a mental condition in North Carolina

How do you receive benefits for a mental disability in North Carolina?

Getting approved for mental disability benefits in North Carolina

Disability awards and award notices in North Carolina

Getting a Social Security disability award in North Carolina

The Social Security disability award notice process in North Carolina

What affects how much time it takes to get a disability award in North Carolina?

Disability representation in North Carolina

Should I get a disability representative or lawyer in North Carolina?

Who can provide disability representation in North Carolina?

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in North Carolina

How do Disability Lawyers in North Carolina get paid their fees?

Denied for disability in North Carolina, should I get an attorney or representative?

Disability attorney fees in NC - paying your lawyer or representative

How does a disability lawyer or representative get paid in North Carolina?

How much does the fee cost for a disability attorney in North Carolina?

Do you pay your disability lawyer in North Carolina or does Social Security pay the fee?

Will your North Carolina disability lawyer charge you upfront for taking your case?

Will your NC disability attorney charge you for any expenses other than the main fee?

NC disability hearings

What kind of decision will you get at a disability hearing in North Carolina?

NC disability hearing - how long for a decision?

Do you have to go to a Social Security hearing in North Carolina to get approved for disability?

The disability hearing in North Carolina- things to keep in mind

How do you prepare for a disability hearing in North Carolina?