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.

Reconsideration

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.

Disability Hearing

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.

Appeals Council

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.

Federal Court

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

SSI

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
(866) 964-7594
Spartanburg SSA Office
145 N Church St 3rd Floor
Spartanburg, SC 29306
(866) 701-6620
Charleston SSA Office
1463 Tobias Gadson Blv
Charleston, SC 29407
(866) 495-0111
Greenville SSA Office
319 Pelham Rd
Greenville, SC 29615
(877) 274-5423
Florence SSA Office
181 Dozier Blvd
Florence, SC 29501
(888) 385-1173
Rock Hill SSA Office
499 Lakeshore Pkwy
Rock Hill, SC 29730
(877) 626-9589
Greenwood SSA Office
115 Enterprise Court Ste C
Greenwood, SC 29649
(866) 739-4803
Anderson SSA Office
4 Civic Ctr Blvd Ext
Anderson, SC 29625
(877) 505-4549
Bennettsville SSA Office
1028 Cheraw St
Bennettsville, SC 29512
(888) 810-7617
Myrtle Beach SSA Office
611 Burroughs and Chapin Blvd
Ste 301
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
(888) 577-6601
Georgetown SSA Office
413 King St
Georgetown, SC 29440
(866) 593-1584
Orangeburg SSA Office
1379 Sims St
Orangeburg, SC 29115
(866) 716-8602
Sumter SSA Office
240 Bultman Dr
Sumter, SC 29150
(877) 445-0840
Aiken SSA Office
151 Corporate Pkwy
Aiken, SC 29803
(866) 275-8271
Beaufort SSA Office
646 Robert Smalls Pkwy
Beaufort, SC 29906
(866) 254-3316
Clinton SSA Office
292 Professional Park Rd
Clinton, SC 29325
(866) 526-9854
Walterboro SSA Office
502 Robertson Blvd
Walterboro, SC 29488
(866) 708-2810

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 Charleston3875 Faber Place Drive
Suite 300
North Charleston, SC 29405
(877) 405-1467
SSA Hearing Office - Columbia101 Executive Center Drive
Suite 215
Columbia, SC 29210
(866) 399-6950
SSA Hearing Office - Mauldin475 North Main Street
Mauldin, SC 29662
(866) 827-6721