The Disability Application Process
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information and documents you need to complete the application.
- You complete and submit your application.
- We review your application to make sure you meet our for disability benefits.
- We confirm you worked enough years to qualify.
- We evaluate any current work activities.
- We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
- This state agency makes the disability determination decision.
To learn more about who decides if you have a disability, read our publication .
Once You’ve Applied
Processing time for disability applications vary depending on the nature of the disability, necessary medical evidence or examinations, and applicable quality reviews.
Once we receive your application, well review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed.
Look For Our Response
When the state agency makes a determination on your case, youll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. It generally takes three to six months for an initial decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, well let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.
Check The Status
Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work
If you cant do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment.
We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cant do other work, well decide you qualify for disability benefits. If you can do other work, well decide that you dont have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.
How Much Ssdi Money Can North Carolina Disability Applicants Qualify For Each Month
In 2022, the SSDI programs maximum monthly disability payment is $3,345. However, the amount you receive entirely depends on your monthly paychecks earned while you were working. Nationwide, disabled workers currently receive $1,358/month in SSDI benefits, on average. The only way to increase your benefit amounts is through an annual cost-of-living-adjustment increase.
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If You Get A Negative Disability Decision
- When you fill out your Marketplace application, answer âyesâ when asked if you have a disability. Weâll forward your application to your state Medicaid agency. If you qualify, theyâll help you enroll.
- If you donât qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for savings on a Marketplace health plan.
Some Publications That Will Give You More Information On Disability Benefits
The Disability Starter Kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application. Kits are available for adults and for children under age 18.
The starter kits provide information about the specific documents and the information that we will request from you.
The kits also provide general information about the disability programs and our decision-making process.
Here are some additional resources with information on disability benefits:
- Disability Evaluation Under Social Security – Medical criteria for evaluating Social Security disability claims
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How To Apply For Disability In North Carolina
Disabled residents of North Carolina can apply for and obtain disability benefits if his or her condition makes work extremely difficult, if at all possible. The state Disability Determinations agency makes the initial decision for approval for either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance . North Carolina utilizes a different model for the initial application to speed up the process, which is discussed in more detail below. This article is about Social Security Disability information and resources in North Carolina.
To find your local Social Security field office, Disability Determinations Services office, or an Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in North Carolina, click here.
Additional Information That May Impact Your Benefits Eligibility
The SSA outlines some of the requirements to apply for benefits under SSDI and SSI. They include:
- Having a condition that has prevented you from working for at least one year
- Being at least 18 years of age
Beyond these basic requirements, the SSA will request several types of information as part of your application. Your answers to these questions and your ability to provide various forms of documentation may directly impact your eligibility for benefits. Some questions on the Checklist for Online Adult Disability Application may ask about:
- The age you were at the time that you became disabled
- How many years you participated in the workforce before becoming disabled
- The nature and severity of the medical condition that causes you to be disabled
- Your marital status
- Whether you have any dependents
- Whether you can complete any type of work to earn an income
- Your education and work history
Your ability to provide thorough documentation about the nature of your medical condition and the date of the conditions onset is essential in determining your eligibility for benefits through SSDI and SSI.
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Ssi Claimants Also Need Very Low Income And Few Resources To Qualify
Youll have to list all monthly income and financial assets on your SSI claim for North Carolina disability benefits. SSI program rules state that any money you get each month counts as income, even if you cannot work. That includes things like alimony or child support payments, interest from a savings account, lottery winnings, TANF, SNAP, etc. In addition, you cant have more than $2,000 in your bank account when you apply. Countable assets include any resources you own now and can easily sell for cash. Examples include your jewelry, property, 401k or IRA accounts, stocks or bonds. Things that never count towards your $2,000 asset limit include:
- Your house and the lot it sits on
- A vehicle you use for daily transportation
- Wedding ring, furniture, clothing or other daily living items
Basically, you wont qualify for SSI if you own too much stuff or receive too much money every month. Married couples must have less than $3,000 in resources and $1,350 in combined monthly income to qualify for SSI.
How Can I Find Out More About Ssdi
- Visit www.ssa.gov online choose disability
- Visit ssabest.benefits.gov to learn about Social Security benefits you might be eligible for including SSDI
- Go to your nearest Social Security office
You can find out how much you would get from SSDI by looking at your Social Security statement. The statement shows your work history and an estimate of what your benefits would be at this time. To get a Social Security statement:
- Request a statement online through Social Securitys website at www.ssa.gov. Click on My Social Security on the left side of the page.
Note that SSDI is different from SSI .
SSI is for people who didnt pay enough into Social Security during their working years, or who havent worked recently enough to qualify for SSDI. However, some people who were employed for short times or whose income was very low may qualify for both SSDI and SSI because their SSDI payment is so low. In that case, the SSI payment is reduced by the amount of SSDI the person gets. See more information on Supplemental Security Income .
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How Much Work Do You Need
In addition to meeting our definition of disability, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.
Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.
The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year. In 2022, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,510 in wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $6,040 you’ve earned your four credits for the year.
The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when your disability begins. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year your disability begins. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.
For more information on whether you qualify, refer to How You Earn Credits.
North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Services
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services of North Carolina offers career counseling, work training, job placement, and other support services to individuals with disabilities. All individuals who are currently receiving either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance are eligible for VR services. Call ahead to schedule an appointment as the VR offices have limited resources and can only assistance so many individuals at a time. To find your local VR office, check out our North Carolina VR Offices page or contact the administrative office below.
North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
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Apply For Benefits Online
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you develop a disability. Follow these easy steps to apply online for disability:
- To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, and read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click Next.
- On that page, review the Getting Ready section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.
- Select Start A New Application.
- We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.
- You will then sign in to your personal mySocial Security account, or you will be prompted to create one.
- Complete the application.
You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
- Are age 18 or older.
- Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
- Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
- Have not been denied for disability in the last 60 days.
Note: If your application was recently denied, our application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made.
You may be able to file online for SSI at the same time that you file for SSDI benefits. Once you complete the online process described above, a Social Security representative will contact you if we need additional information.
The Maximum Monthly Ssi Payment Is $841/person $1261/couple
Whenever theres an annual Cost-of-Living-Adjustment increase, the SSI program also raises your North Carolina disability payments each month. However, you also must pass routine disability update checks every 3-7 years to keep those monthly payments. As long as your symptoms stay the same or get worse, youll keep your North Carolina disability benefits. Once you turn 65, the SSI program stops requiring these disability status check-ins every so often. You still need to pass the programs financial eligibility requirements, of course. But as long as you do that, youll keep getting North Carolina disability payments from SSI for life.
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Information You Need To Apply
Before applying, be ready to provide information about yourself, your medical condition, and your work. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
Information About You
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number.
- The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death .
- Names and dates of birth of children not yet 18 years of age.
- Your bank or other and the account number.
Information About Your Medical Condition
- Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application.
- Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
- Names of medicines, the amount you are taking, and who prescribed them.
- Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who ordered them.
Information About Your Work:
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other .
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns, and medical documents, but we must see the originals of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.
Applying For Disability Benefits Can Be A Challenging Process
According to the SSA, many applicants for disability benefits have had their initial application denied for various reasons, including:
- Technical problems with an application
- Disqualification based on medical information
Between 2001 and 2010, the SSA approved only about 45 percent of disability claims. This suggests that applying for disability benefits is not a straightforward process for many applicants. SSDI or SSI application errors are possible, if not likely.
You have the right to seek help from a third party to help you with applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can review your application, saving you time and helping you avoid errors that could delay your claim.
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Social Security Disability Insurance For People With Cancer
Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal disability insurance benefit earned by people who have worked and paid into Social Security. Its only available to people who have disabilities that keep them from working. If you have cancer, you may be able to have your SSDI application processed more quickly
My Child Receives Ssdi Derivative Benefits How Is This Benefit Counted For Child Support Purposes
First, the SSDI derivative benefits count as income for the parent from whom they derive. Second, if the childs benefits derive from the non-custodial parent, the amount of the benefits are subtracted from the obligation calculated using the Guidelines. The order is set based on the remaining obligation.For example, if the amount of benefits is $300, and the obligation calculated using the Guidelines is $500, then the order would be set at $200.
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Your Impairment Does Not Have To Be On The Ssas List
If you want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to note that your impairment does not have to appear on the SSAs list. Examples of such conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome and celiac disease, among others.
However, you must present a formal diagnosis of your condition to the SSA that shows it is a medically determinable impairment that prevents you from functioning in full capacity. This means your condition must be severe enough to prevent you from working or performing your daily activities. This reduction in capacity is known as the residual functional capacity.
If your disability meets the SSAs requirements, it might consider it to be equivalent to a listed condition. You must obtain this diagnosis from your doctor to prove your condition, but it is only the start of the process. It does not mean you will automatically receive approval for benefits.
Qualifying For Ssi And Ssdi
The Social Security Administration operates two disability programs including Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance . Each of these programs has its own criteria that an applicant must meet in order to qualify.
To qualify for SSDI benefits, an applicant must have earned enough work credits through prior work history. As of 2014, for every $1,200 earned, a worker earns one work credits and can earn a total of four work credits each year. The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits will vary depending on your age.
Unlike SSDI benefits, an applicant does not need any work history or work credits to qualify for SSI benefits. Instead, SSI is a needs-based program. Benefit eligibility is based on household income and assets. As of 2014, an individual cannot have a household income of more than $721 per month as an individual or $1,082 per month as a couple or household assets exceeding $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 for a couple in order to qualify for SSI benefits.
For both SSDI and SSI benefits, an individual must meet the medical criteria set forth by the SSA to qualify.
For more information on the disability programs visit:
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Is Your Condition Severe
Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you do not have a qualifying disability.
If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.
How Our Lawyer Could Handle Your Disability Benefits Application Process
The process of proving your disability will take time, but you dont have to go through it by yourself. The SSA allows you to assign a representative who can:
- Correspond with the SSA on your behalf
- Access and collect your medical records for the purpose of applying for benefits
- Fill out paperwork on your behalf
- Accompany you to any interviews or hearings required to complete your application
What Does An Accredited Representative Or A Vso Do
Accredited representatives and VSOs can help you understand and apply for VA benefits, like:
- Financial support
- Veteran Readiness and Employment
These trained professionals can also:
- Help you gather supporting documents
- File a claim or appeal on your behalf
- Provide added support, like helping with transportation to medical appointments or emergency funds
Note: If your claim has a clear factual or legal error, your accredited representative or VSO can request a faster Higher-Level Review decision through a new pilot program called Claim Accuracy Request .