If you live in South Carolina and can't work for at least a year due to a medical condition, you could be eligible to receive SSDI or SSI disability benefits. Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal benefit programs designed to provide an income to those who have illnesses or injuries that make them unable to work. These disability benefit programs are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which has offices across the country.
There are three different ways you can complete the application for Social Security benefits. One option is to visit your local South Carolina Social Security office to complete a paper disability application. You can find the closest Social Security location on the SSA's website.
Some South Carolina disability applicants find it difficult to make it to a Social Security office to apply for disability in person. Luckily, you can also apply for Social Security disability via telephone, by calling the SSA at (800) 772-1213. (You can also call this number to schedule an appointment to apply for benefits in person.)
Lastly, South Carolina residents who want to apply for SSDI benefits without leaving their home can do apply online at www.ssa.gov using the SSDI application or the SSI application.
Disability applicants have to take three steps before they get approved for benefits. First, you file an application. If you get denied, you request a reconsideration (an appeal on paper). If you get denied again, you request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).
The majority of South Carolina disability claimants (64%) have their initial applications denied by South Carolina Disability Determination Services (DDS). But if you receive a disability denial, it doesn't mean that you'll never be approved for benefits.
Approximately three to five months after you apply for disability benefits, you'll be notified in writing whether or not your claim has been approved.
Within 60 days of being notified that your disability claim has been denied, you can file a "Request for Reconsideration," which will re-open your claim with the DDS. A different claims examiner than the one who denied your disability claim will review your file to ensure that the correct decision was made.
You'll be notified of the results of your reconsideration three to four months after submitting the request. Approximately 13% of South Carolina's disability applicants have their claims approved at this level.
If, after reconsideration, you're again denied disability benefits, the next step is to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). You can do this by filing a form called "Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge."
Once the SSA receives your request, you'll be "in line" to have a disability hearing. Unfortunately, due to a large backlog of disability claims, you may have to wait a long time before having your hearing. The average wait for someone who requests a disability hearing in South Carolina is just under a year (10 months) from the date of the hearing request.
Your disability hearing will take place at a hearing office in or near South Carolina. At your hearing, you'll be able to speak directly to the administrative law judge who will be deciding whether or not to approve your disability benefits claim. The ALJ will have reviewed your file and may ask you questions about your situation. Sometimes a doctor or an employment expert will call in by phone to give an opinion.
Although in rare instances the judge will announce a decision at the hearing, you'll most likely have to wait a month or two after your disability hearing to receive a written decision in the mail.
Your best chance of getting approved for disability benefits comes at your Social Security hearing (about 60% of claims in South Carolina are approved by ALJs). However, if you receive an unfavorable decision (the judge denies your claim), you can request that the SSA's Appeals Council review your case.
If that fails, the last step in the SSD appeals process is to file a lawsuit in federal district court in South Carolina.
Here are the approval and wait-time statistics for South Carolina from 2021-2022, the most recent available.
|Stage of Application||
Initial Application Approval Rate
Reconsideration Approval Rate
Appeal Hearing Approval Rate
Hearing Wait Time
The State of South Carolina will make an additional monthly payment to some SSI recipients.
In order to be eligible for this SSI supplement in South Carolina, SSI recipients must live in a licensed community residential care facility (CRCF) or assisted living. The amount of the SSI supplement for CRCF recipients is less than $1,000, and it all goes to the facility, except for a small personal needs allowance, less than $100, which the SSI recipient can keep. The supplement is administered by the Optional State Supplementation (OSS) program of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
There is another supplement, called the Optional Supplemental Care for Assisted Living Program (OSCAP), for those living in an assisted living facility.
Although the SSA is responsible for managing and processing Social Security disability claims, South Carolina's Disability Determination Services (DDS) is responsible for making the initial and reconsideration decisions on South Carolina disability claims. South Carolina DDS has regional offices in Charleston, Greenville, and West Columbia. Here are the addresses and phone numbers for each office.
Vocational Rehabilitation North Charleston
4360 Dorchester Rd
North Charleston, SC 29405
Phone: (843) 740-1600
Vocational Rehabilitation Greenville
105 Parkins Mill Rd
Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (864) 297-3066
Vocational Rehabilitation West Columbia
1400 Boston Ave,
West Columbia, SC 29170
Phone: (803) 896-6040
Social Security disability hearings for South Carolina residents are held at one of five OHO offices, which are listed below. OHO stands for Offices of Hearings Operations, which were previously known as Offices of Adjudications and Review (ODARs). Here are the addresses and phone numbers for each hearing office, as well as the field offices that the hearing office serves.
3875 Faber Place Drive, Suite 300
North Charleston, South Carolina 29405
Phone: (877) 405-1467
Fax: (833) 604-0730
Serves the Beaufort, Charleston, Conway, Georgetown, and Walterboro field offices
101 Executive Center Drive, Suite 215
Columbia, South Carolina 29210
Phone: (866) 399-6950
Fax: (833) 710-0401
Serves the Aiken, Bennettsville, Columbia, Florence, Orangeburg, and Sumter field offices
475 North Main Street
Mauldin, SC 29662
Phone: (866) 827-6721
Fax: (833) 509-0823
Serves the Anderson, Clinton, Greenville, Greenwood, and Spartanburg field offices
The South Carolina Vocational Rehab Department (SCVRD) provides services to disabled South Carolina residents who would like to try to return to work. The SCVRD offers job placement assistance, training classes, and supportive employment arrangements.
In addition to their regional offices, the SCVRD also has 24 job training centers throughout the state. More information on vocational rehab in South Carolina can be found on SCVRD's website.
If you've been denied disability benefits in South Carolina, or have questions about your current claim, you may want to consider contacting an experienced Social Security disability attorney for advice.
Updated May 23, 2022
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