When you file for Social Security disability in North Carolina, a state agency decides whether you are disabled, even though Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs. North Carolina's Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the agency that makes the initial approval or denial of benefits (contact information below). North Carolina's DDS approves slightly fewer disability applications (33%) than the national average (36%).
North Carolina also differs from other states in that it pays a substantial additional payment to disabled, low-income residents who reside in adult care homes, assisted living, or special care units.
If you receive a denial from DDS and want to appeal, you first ask DDS to reconsider its decision by filing a Request for Reconsideration. If DDS denies your claim a second time, you file a Request for Hearing form.
Administrative law judges (ALJs) hold hearings at the hearing office located nearest to your local Social Security field office. The hearing offices are called Offices of Hearings Operations (OHO); these offices were formerly known as Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review, or ODAR. Contact information for North Carolina's four OHO offices is below. Often hearings are held by phone or videoconference; however, you can ask that the hearing be held in person.
On average, it takes 11 months to get a hearing date in North Carolina, as of 2022. This is the time from when the request was filed to the date the case was decided by an ALJ. Although, in the 2021/2022 year, DDS offices awarded disability benefits in only 33% of the initial applications they looked at, North Carolina ALJs awarded benefits in 56% of the cases they heard, which is above the national average.
Here are the state and national approval rates at each stage:
|Stage of Application||
Hearing Wait Time
For most SSI recipients, the federal government funds the entire SSI payment (up to $841 per month in 2022), but for those who live in an adult care home or receive in-home support services, North Carolina provides a state supplementary payment on top of the federal payment. The Special Assistance Program makes these payments.
The State-County Special Assistance program helps pay for room and board in residential facilities and for some other living arrangements. The maximum special assistance payment is tied to the maximum rate that adult care homes can charge Special Assistance recipients for room and board. That room and board rate is currently $1,182 (in 2022). An individual's monthly countable income will be subtracted from that rate to come up with the benefit amount, but a personal needs allowance of $70 is added on.
Recipients who are "medically needy" (with low income and high medical bills) can also get in-home services through the Special Assistance In-Home Program. The program pays the same rates for in-home support services ($1,182 plus a $70 personal needs allowance).
Qualified individuals living in a special care unit, such as for dementia or Alzheimer's disease, are eligible for a higher amount to pay for room and board: $1,515 per month (in 2022).
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Aging and Adult Services administers this special assistance. You can find more information in the state's Special Assistance brochure or Special Assistance for Special Care Units brochure. You can apply for the supplement at your county's Department of Social Services office; use North Carolina's DSS locator to find the office closest to you.
North Carolina law places a limit on how much a doctor's office or hospital can charge you for your medical records.
In North Carolina, medical providers can charge $0.75 per page for the first 25 pages, $0.50 for pages 21-100, and $0.25 for each page copied over 100. A doctor can also charge a reasonable fee to review your records and write a short description of your treatment and condition based on the records.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) administers the state's Disability Determination Services (DDS) program. Unlike many states, North Carolina does not have individual DDS locations. Here is the contact information for North Carolina's DDS headquarters:
DDS Mailing Address
P.O. Box 243
Raleigh, NC 27602
3301 Terminal Dr.
For more information, visit the website of the Department of Health and Human Services. Note that disability examiners at DDS are no longer allowed to make medical assessments regarding the severity of a physical disorder without the help of a medical consultant (doctor); the "single decision-maker" model that was being tested as part of the SSA's Disability Redesign project ended in 2018.
North Carolina has four hearing offices, called Offices of Hearings Operations (OHO), located throughout the state. Formerly these offices were referred to as Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) hearing offices. Below is the contact information for each office.
2201 Coronation Boulevard, Suite 200
Charlotte, North Carolina 28227
Phone: (888) 397-4124
Fax: (833) 719-0412
Services the following Social Security field offices: Albemarle, Charlotte, Concord, Hickory, Gastonia, Salisbury, Shelby, Statesville
150 Rowan Street, 2nd Floor
Fayetteville, NC 28301
Phone: (888) 552-7169
Fax: (833) 956-1140
Services the following Social Security field offices: Fayetteville, Kinston, New Bern, Lumberton, Rockingham, Sanford, Wilmington, Whiteville
101 South Edgeworth St., Suite 300
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: (866) 690-2091
Fax: (833) 616-0128
Services the following Social Security field offices: Greensboro, Reidsville, Wilkesboro
4800 Falls of Neuse Rd., Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27609
Phone: (866) 708-3174
Fax: (833) 499-0273
Services the following Social Security field offices: Ahoskie, Durham, Elizabeth City, Goldsboro, Greenville, Henderson, Raleigh, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Smithfield, Washington, Wilson
North Carolina offers vocational rehabilitation and retraining services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS). DVRS provides assistance to disabled individuals with job placement, self-care skills, and helps to achieve independent living. For more information, see the DVRS website.
Updated August 12, 2022