If you meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled,” you may qualify for monthly compensation
The Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI)—which most Americans refer to as Social Security—is funded by workers in the form of payroll deductions.
The revenues are deposited into 2 trust funds. The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust provides monthly benefits to retired-workers and survivors of deceased workers. The Social Security Disability Insurance Trust provides monthly benefits to disabled workers and their dependents.
In this article, we’ll focus on the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust. We’ll look at who can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, how to apply for benefits, and what to do if your application is denied. We’ll also take a quick look at some of the other disability programs that might be available to disabled workers in South Carolina.
What is Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial assistance to people who are unable to work because of a long-term disability. The benefit is only available to people who’ve paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes for at least 5 of the past 10 years before their injury.
What about Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is similar to SSDI, but it’s only available to people who are disabled and don’t have a consistent work history. In other words, if you haven’t worked enough to be eligible for SSDI, you might be eligible for SSI.
To be eligible for SSI, you must have a limited income.
In 2019, 107,037 South Carolinians received SSDI benefits. Of those receiving SSDI benefits, 17,540 were under the age of 18; 74,078 were between the ages of 18-64; and 23,088 were 65 and older.
How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) define disability?
To receive disability benefits (through SSDI or SSI), the SSA must consider you “totally disabled”. You are considered totally disabled if:
- You can’t do the work you did before your injury or illness,
- You can’t adjust to any other work because of your injury or illness, and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least 1 year or result in death
There’s a lengthy list of conditions that automatically qualify you for Social Security disability benefits, but you could also qualify based on a condition that’s not included on the list if you’re able to show that the condition is severe enough to meet the SSA criteria.
How to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits
In South Carolina, there are 3 ways to apply for social security benefits:
- You can apply online
- You can apply over the telephone by calling 1-800-772-1213 (1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf or hard of hearing)
- You can visit your local Social Security office and apply in person
Whether you apply for SSDI or SSI benefits online, over the telephone, or in person, you should have the following documents ready:
Adult disability checklist
- Any medical records you have in your possession
- Workers’ compensation information (including date of injury, settlement agreement, and claim number)
- Names and dates of birth of your minor children and spouse
- Dates of marriages and divorces
- Checking or savings account and routing number
- Name, address, and telephone number of an emergency contact
- A completed Medical Release (SSA-827)
- A completed Medical and Job Worksheet
Child disability checklist
- Any medical records you have in your possession
- Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any schools the child attended in the past 12 months, including the names of teachers, psychologists, counselors, speech and other therapists who have seen or treated the child
- The child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP) and any other school records you may have
- Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any social service programs and the name of caseworkers that have information about the child
- Name, address, and telephone number of another adult who helps care for the child
- Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any employers the child has had
- An original or certified copy of the child’s birth certificate
- Names and social security numbers for all the children and adults who live in the household
- Proof of current income for the child and family members living in the household (for example, pay stubs, self-employment tax returns, unemployment or other program benefits, child support).
- Proof of resources for the child and parents living in the household (for example, bank account statements, life insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks or bonds)
What if my SSDI or SSI application is denied?
If your application is denied, it doesn’t mean you won’t eventually receive benefits. You have 60 days to appeal a denial.
Here are the steps to an appeal:
- Reconsideration. Someone who didn’t take part in reviewing your initial application will reconsider your application.
- Hearing with an administrative law judge. If your reconsideration is denied, you can request an in-person hearing with the Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR).
- Review by Appeals Council. The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review, but it may deny a request if it believes the hearing decision was correct.
- Federal court review. Your last chance at receiving benefits is appealing to the federal district court.
How does workers’ compensation affect your Social Security disability benefits?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides financial benefits to employees who are injured on the job. The vast majority of employers with 4 or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina.
Eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits is completely different from eligibility for Social Security benefits.
You’re allowed to receive both workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security benefits, but the total amount of these benefits can’t exceed 80% of your average earnings before you become disabled.
Other disability programs in South Carolina
SSDI and SSI are the most popular disability programs in South Carolina. However, other disability programs may be available depending on your status and the nature of your disability.
- Veterans disability compensation. The U.S. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides disability compensation to eligible veterans who become sick or injured while serving in the military.
- Optional State Supplementation Program (OSS). Through the OSS, disabled residents who are residing in licensed community residential care facilities may be eligible for disability benefits (in addition to whatever SSI or SSDI benefits the individual may receive).
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under the South Carolina Combined Application Project, a person is eligible to receive SNAP benefits if they’re eligible to receive SSI.
- Protection & Advocacy for People with Disabilities. Protection & Advocacy is a federally-funded program that provides help, including legal assistance, to people with disabilities in South Carolina.