How to Claim Disability Benefits in North Carolina?

A potential candidate for disability benefits should file for disability benefits as soon as the person becomes disabled. This is a very important point because it can take a long time to process an application for disability benefits; oftentimes, this process can take from three to five months. A candidate can apply online at, retain an attorney to do the necessary work, visit your local branch or even apply over the phone. To file a claim, a claimant must fill out the application, amongst other things. The information needed to help process an application includes the candidate’s social security number, names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, a birth certificate, the names of medicines as well as the dosage, test and laboratory results, medical records, work history and a copy of the candidates W2.

Social Security will then review your application to ensure that you meet the conditional requirements for disability benefits. If a candidate succeeds in this process, then the case will be turned over to the Disability Determination Services Office in North Carolina (or the office in your state). DDS will then conduct an “investigation.” This often involves contacting doctors, looking at medical conditions, and how these limitations limit your activities and daily functional capabilities. DDS will also consider when your medical condition began. This is important because sometimes this allows a recipient to receive benefits for the previous 12 months before filing their claim. DDS will also look at what medical treatment, surgeries, and tests the claimant has received, as well as talk to the doctors about how a claimant’s condition will affect work-related activities, such as driving, operating machinery, carrying objects, standing for long periods, etc…

During the next part of the process of a disability claim, DS will verify if a candidate is currently working and the average income, looked at monthly. If a candidate’s average earnings are more than a certain amount (published on the SSA) website, DDS will generally not consider you disabled. DDS then considers if a claimant’s medical condition is “severe.” The condition must significantly impair a claimant’s ability to conduct work-related activities, even considering mental abilities such as remembering job tasks and responsibilities. North Carolina has a List of Impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered “severe.” DDS lastly considers if a claimant could do the same or even other types of work in his or her current condition. The state will look to see if a claimant can do a variety of other tasks, even if the claimant has no experience doing that type of work.

Lastly, Social Security will then conclude on a claim and will send a letter to the claimant’s address listed on their application. If the claim is successful, the letter will also inform the recipient of the amount and date of when payments begin. If not approved, it is wise to go ahead and appeal that decision, rather than filing a new claim.

About Author


Clauson Law has focused on representing the injured and disabled for over 10 years. We have handled thousands of cases. Each client is important to us and has a unique situation.