The Social Security disability application process is a perplexing one for many South Carolina residents. If you live in South Carolina, and you are unable to work for at least a year as the result of a medical condition, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
SSD is a federal benefits program designed to compensate you when you have an illness or injury that makes you unable to work. It is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which has offices throughout the country.
Who Qualifies for SSD Benefits?
To qualify for SSD benefits, you must prove that you have not yet reached the age of retirement, and that you have a substantial and recent enough work history to qualify for the benefit. You must also be able to establish that you have a disability that renders you unable to participate in gainful employment, which has lasted or is expected to last longer than one year.
What is SSI Coverage?
Unlike SSD benefits, which require that you have substantial and recent work history, SSI coverage, or Supplemental Security Income, is a needs-based program available to low-income disabled people.
Individuals who are disabled, blind or older than the age of 65 may qualify for SSI coverage. The only additional requirements include that you are a United States citizen or national with a limited income. Even if you do not qualify for SSD coverage, if you are disabled, you may still qualify for benefits under SSI.
How to Apply for SSD Benefits
You can apply for SSD benefits in three ways. The first way is to visit your local South Carolina SSA field office and fill out a paper application. You can find the closest SSA office to you on the SSA website.
A second way to apply is over the telephone. You can call the SSA at (800) 772-1213 to do this or to schedule an appointment to apply for benefits.
The third way is to apply for disability benefits online directly through the SSA website.
What if Your Claim is Denied?
Typically, between 90 days to six months passes after you apply for disability benefits until you are notified if your claim has been approved or not. If your claim is denied, you can appeal it.
The majority of applicants for SSD benefits (65 percent) have their claim initially denied, according to the Invisible Disabilities Association. An initial denial does not mean you will not ultimately be approved for benefits. There is a multi-layer appeals process in place.
The next step you can take is to file a Request for Reconsideration, and if that is denied, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. Negative decisions at that point must be reviewed by the Appeals Council. If all else fails, you can request a federal court to review the decision.
Our SSD Benefits Attorneys Want to Help You
No matter what stage of the disability process you are in, or even if you are still debating whether you should file for SSD benefits, the experienced attorneys at Land Parker & Welch are ready to help you. If you want to apply for Social Security disability benefits, or if you want to discuss an already pending disability claim, please call or contact us online today.