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Disabled South Carolina residents with special needs have access to a variety of federal and state services.
Federal assistance is available through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), both run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These programs are federally funded but are administered through state agencies.
In South Carolina, Disability Determination Services (DDS) reviews applications and works with the SSA to determine eligibility.
In addition to Social Security disability benefits, a disabled resident may also qualify for Medicaid (Healthy Connections), unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, or income assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
At this time, the state does not offer any short-term disability due to personal injury, though you may be eligible through your employer. Residents with disabilities may wish to contact the Center for Disability Resources for more help. This organization provides assistance and advocacy for those with developmental disabilities like autism and other developmental delays.
Facts About South Carolina
Around 30% of South Carolina’s population has a disability of one kind or another. The largest proportion of individuals have mobility or cognitive-related conditions. Out of these disabled individuals, 40% are more likely to be overweight and 27% are likely to smoke. The numbers are higher than the state averages of 33% and 15% respectively.
South Carolina pays $12 billion annually for disability-related healthcare costs, which is 36% of the state’s overall spending on healthcare.
How To Qualify for SSDI in South Carolina
South Carolina residents applying for SSDI benefits must meet the same criteria set forth by the SSA as the rest of the nation. Although these are federal requirements, your application will be forwarded to South Carolina DDS to review and determine if you meet all the standards.
Each state works under the framework that the SSA sets forth, but each state has different approval ratings based on its findings. South Carolina approves approximately 37% of all first time applications which is just above the national average of 35%.
There are two main benchmarks that your disability claim must meet to be considered for a monthly benefit.
First, you must show that you’ve worked long enough and have contributed to the Social Security tax. This typically means ten years of employment, though a waiver may be granted by the Social Security office if your disability is so severe you’ve never been able to work.
The second requirement is that your disability must be considered “severe.” It should be listed in the SSA Blue Book of approved disabilities. This is a comprehensive list of physical and mental impairments from autism spectrum disorder to asthma to chronic liver disease.
The SSA must deem your disability to be severe enough to impact your ability to work for at least 12 months or end in death. It is possible to be approved if your condition is not on this list, but your chances are much more likely if it’s included.
How To Apply for SSDI in South Carolina
An applicant can send in their request for Social Security Disability benefits in one of three ways: online, by phone, or in person. The quickest way to apply is through the federal Social Security site, but you can also call the national number at 800-772-1213 for step-by-step instructions.
You can also apply in person at your local Social Security field office. In South Carolina, there are 17 offices to choose from, but you should call first to make an appointment.
Before you apply, take the time to gather all relevant information and supporting documents. This should include medical records as well as names and contact information of doctors and clinics. You will also need to supply basic personal information about you, your spouse, and your children – including date of birth, Social Security number, and employment history.
How To Appeal a Denial in South Carolina
South Carolina has steadily been increasing their initial approval rate over the last 10 years. However, even with a 37% acceptance rate, this still leaves the majority of applicants with no benefit.
Those preparing an SSDI claim should expect to go through at least one stage of the appeals process to complete their application. With each level, you have 60 days from the time you receive your denial to file your new claim.
The reconsideration phase is usually fairly fast and does not require the assistance of an attorney. In this stage, you can request to have a new disability examiner look at your initial application to see if an error was made. Around 11% of applications receive approval at this stage.
In the second stage of appeals, many people choose to hire a disability lawyer for legal advice. When you request a hearing (called a disability adjudication) with an administrative law judge, it will be scheduled at one of three Hearing and Appeals offices in South Carolina: North Charleston, Columbia, or Mauldin.
You will likely be asked to bring additional supporting documentation or witnesses, and around 55% of cases are approved at this stage. Unfortunately, it can take over a year to receive an appointment.
Most people will not have to employ the third level of appeal, but if you do you’ll apply for an appeal online with the Social Security Appeals Council. The purpose of this council is to review all lower determinations to see if a mistake was made.
The final level of appeal is to file a lawsuit at the district federal court in South Carolina. At this point, you will want to contact a law firm to retain a social security disability lawyer.
More South Carolina Benefits
Many people who receive SSDI may also receive SSI benefits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another federal insurance program intended for those with low-income residents, and you don’t necessarily have to have a disability to qualify.
To be eligible you must be disabled, blind, or over age 65. All applicants must meet low income and limited resources requirements. When you apply for SSDI, your application will automatically be reviewed to see if you also qualify for SSI.
South Carolina Medicaid
If you already qualify for and receive SSI, you are automatically entitled to receive South Carolina Medicaid (Healthy Connections). Medicaid is a joint state and federal health insurance program for low-income individuals who could not afford coverage on their own.
Healthy Connections is run by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) and provides free or low-cost insurance to South Carolinians.
South Carolina Unemployment
A person who has become unemployed through no fault of their own may qualify for South Carolina Unemployment benefits. This program provides temporary financial help for up to 20 weeks and has a maximum weekly payout of $316.
South Carolina Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in South Carolina|
|Columbia SSA Office||1835 Assembly St 11th Floor|
Columbia, SC 29201
|Spartanburg SSA Office||145 N Church St 3rd Floor|
Spartanburg, SC 29306
|Charleston SSA Office||1463 Tobias Gadson Blv|
Charleston, SC 29407
|Greenville SSA Office||319 Pelham Rd|
Greenville, SC 29615
|Florence SSA Office||181 Dozier Blvd|
Florence, SC 29501
|Rock Hill SSA Office||499 Lakeshore Pkwy|
Rock Hill, SC 29730
|Greenwood SSA Office||115 Enterprise Court Ste C|
Greenwood, SC 29649
|Anderson SSA Office||4 Civic Ctr Blvd Ext|
Anderson, SC 29625
|Bennettsville SSA Office||1028 Cheraw St|
Bennettsville, SC 29512
|Myrtle Beach SSA Office||611 Burroughs and Chapin Blvd|
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
|Georgetown SSA Office||413 King St|
Georgetown, SC 29440
|Orangeburg SSA Office||1379 Sims St|
Orangeburg, SC 29115
|Sumter SSA Office||240 Bultman Dr|
Sumter, SC 29150
|Aiken SSA Office||151 Corporate Pkwy|
Aiken, SC 29803
|Beaufort SSA Office||646 Robert Smalls Pkwy|
Beaufort, SC 29906
|Clinton SSA Office||292 Professional Park Rd|
Clinton, SC 29325
|Walterboro SSA Office||502 Robertson Blvd|
Walterboro, SC 29488
South Carolina Hearing and Appeal Offices
South Carolina is in Region 4 (Atlanta), which services Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
|Region 4 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in South Carolina|
|SSA Hearing Office – North Charleston||3875 Faber Place Drive|
North Charleston, SC 29405
|SSA Hearing Office – Columbia||101 Executive Center Drive|
Columbia, SC 29210
|SSA Hearing Office – Mauldin||475 North Main Street|
Mauldin, SC 29662