Qualifying for Disability in South Carolina
Qualifying for benefits based on disability from the social security administration in South Carolina (either Social Security Disability or SSI) involves satisfying medical and non-medical requirements.
For title II disability benefits, otherwise known as Social Security Disability benefits, the non-medical requirements (for qualifying for disability) regard earned income. In other words, to be eligible to apply for disability or to continue receiving disability benefits after a case has been approved, an individual cannot earn more than a specified amount of gross monthly income (this amount is known as SGA or substantial gainful activity and the amount changes yearly).
For title 16 disability benefits, also known as SSI or supplemental security income, the non-medical disability requirements include consideration of earned income but also assets, a.k.a. resources. Qualifying for disability benefits under the SSI program in this sense means not having countable assets greater than two thousand dollars (countable assets, by the way, do not include the real property that a person lives in or their primary vehicle).
The medical requirements for qualifying for disability essentially boil down to meeting the social security administration's definition of disability.
For adults, the definition states that a claimant will be considered to be disabled if he or she is found to be unable to perform substantial gainful work activity due to a physical or mental impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for twelve months (continuous months) or possibly result in death.
The social security definition of disability can be difficult to comprehend, particularly the reference to substantial gainful work activity. However, this aspect of the definition of disability simply means that a person can work and apply for disability, or work and receive disability...as long as their monthly gross earned income falls below a certain threshold referred to as SGA (the definition for SGA).
However, qualifying for disability is not as simple as the social security definition of disability might imply. The process of actually determining whether or not a claimant's condition will last 12 months (if it hasn't already) and the process of determining what type of work a claimant might be able to engage in (or not engage in) is somewhat detailed.
1. Qualifying for Disability - What is Social Security Looking for?
2. What is qualifying based on?
3. A question about qualifying for SSI
4. Do You Qualify For SSDI Benefits from SSA?
In essence, qualifying for disability means that a Social Security Disability or SSI claimant will have successfully met the following disability criteria:
1. They will have a condition that is considered severe.
2. They will have a condition that has lasted 12 months or can be expected to last 12 months.
3. Their condition will limit them to the extent that they are considered unable to return to their past work.
4. Their condition will limit them to the extent that, in addition to being unable to return to their past work, they will be considered unable to perform other types of work.
Qualifying can be difficult at the intial application level and 70% of cases are denied at that level. Qualifying at the first appeal level (known as a reconsideration or review, depending on the state in which you live) can be even more difficult as roughly 81% of such disability appeals are also turned down. However, at a social security hearing for disability benefits, a claimant who has been previously denied will typically stand their best chance of being approved, particularly if they are represented by an attorney or non-attorney representative.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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