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Disability benefits in north carolina

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in North Carolina

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
May 13, 2024  ·  1 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

If you're a North Carolina resident facing challenges due to a disability, you're not alone. More than 333,000 North Carolinians currently receive benefits through Social Security disability programs. These programs offer financial assistance and healthcare to those who cannot work due to specific medical conditions.

Learn about the eligibility requirements for disability benefits in North Carolina and how to begin the process.

What benefits are available in North Carolina?

North Carolina does not have a statewide disability program. However, as a North Carolina resident, you have access to federal and supplementary programs that can provide financial and healthcare support.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): If you have previously worked and paid into social security, you may be eligible for SSDI and Medicare benefits. In North Carolina, the average monthly SSDI benefit amount is $1,699. 

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income allows for a limited work history. If you have a low income and few assets, you might be eligible for SSI and Medicaid. In North Carolina, the average monthly SSI benefit amount is $589.

  • Veterans disability benefits: If you are a veteran unable to work due to a disability sustained during military service, you could be eligible for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s possible to collect veterans' disability benefits in addition to SSDI and SSI.

  • Private disability insurance: If your employer offers private disability insurance benefits or you have a private disability plan through an insurance provider, you can access these benefits if the coverage purchase occurred before your injury or illness.

  • Workers’ compensation: If a work-related injury or illness led to your disability, you may qualify for workers’ compensation, which provides weekly payments and medical expense coverage.

  • State supplemental payments: North Carolina offers additional support through the State and County Special Assistance Programs. These programs include the Adult Care Home Program and the In-Home Program for the elderly, blind, or disabled. These monthly payments could help you meet the costs of care.

We've helped 5,891 people apply for disability in North Carolina.

Should I apply for disability in North Carolina?

If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, it might be time to apply for disability benefits. In North Carolina, there are a few factors for you to consider when trying to decide whether or not to apply:

  • Medical eligibility: You must have a medical condition that meets the definition of disability according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The condition has to last at least one year and prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).

  • Work history: SSDI is only available if you have worked and paid into Social Security — usually for at least five of the last 10 years.

  • Financial situation: If you do not meet the work requirements for SSDI, you might be eligible for SSI, which the SSA designed to help disabled individuals with a low income and few resources.

How to apply for Social Security disability benefits in North Carolina

There are three ways to apply for SSDI and SSI in North Carolina:

  1. Online: The quickest and most convenient way to apply for disability benefits is online. Visit SSA.gov and follow the links to the disability benefits section. 

  2. Over the phone: You can also apply by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

  3. In person: If you prefer a face-to-face interaction, you can visit your closest SSA office.

SSA office in North Carolina

From Asheville to Durham, Greensboro to Raleigh, there are 37 SSA field offices in North Carolina.

Ahoskie 1231 1St St W

Ahoskie, NC 27910

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 828-3810

Fax Number: (833) 950-3771


202 Charter St Brookwood Executive Pk

Albemarle, NC 28001

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 319-8268

Fax Number: (833) 950-3781


157 Dublin Square Rd Ste K

Asheboro, NC 27203

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 472-6119

Fax Number: (833) 597-0078


800 Centre Park Dr

Asheville, NC 28805

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 572-8361

Fax Number: (833) 950-2542


2201 Coronation Blvd Ste 100

Charlotte, NC 28227

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 383-1598

Fax Number: (833) 950-2536


830 Florence St NW

Concord, NC 28027

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 366-6149

Fax Number: (833) 950-3145


3511 Shannon Rd Ste 200

Durham, NC 27707

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 759-3908

Fax Number: (833) 950-2832

Elizabeth City

1865 W City Dr

Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 572-2819

Fax Number: (833) 950-2846

Click here to see all the SSA offices in North Carolina.

Disability application steps

Applying for disability benefits in North Carolina involves the following steps:

  1. Submit your initial application: Submit your application for SSDI or SSI online, by phone, or in person. You’ll need your medical records, work history, and personal identification. The wait time for a decision on your application will be about 7 to 8 months, depending on your case's complexity and the DDS backlog.

  2. Request a reconsideration: If the SSA denies your initial application, the next step is to request a reconsideration. A different adjudicator at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) will do a complete review of your file. Be sure to submit any new medical evidence or information that might support your claim, but keep in mind that the chances of overturning an initial denial are low at this stage.

  3. Participate in a hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ): A hearing before an ALJ is your chance to personally explain your case, present evidence, and have witnesses or experts speak on your behalf. Many applicants are approved at this stage, especially when they work with a disability lawyer.

  4. Appeals Council review: If the ALJ denies your claim, you can ask for the Social Security Appeals Council to review your case. The Council will not review new evidence; instead, it will review your case to make sure the SSA conducted the hearing fairly.

  5. Federal court review: If the Appeals Council does not approve your case, the next step is to file a lawsuit in a federal district court. A federal court review is complex, so working with a disability lawyer is strongly recommended to increase your chances of success.

Do I need a lawyer to apply for disability in North Carolina?

While it's not mandatory, hiring legal representation will significantly enhance your chances of approval. The benefits of hiring a disability lawyer in North Carolina include:

  • Expertise in documentation: The disability application process involves a lot of detailed paperwork. An experienced lawyer will make sure you’ve filled out all the documents correctly and submitted them on time, reducing the likelihood of errors that could delay your application.

  • Effective communication: Disability lawyers have experience dealing with the SSA. They will handle all communication, presenting your case clearly and effectively.

  • Higher approval rates: Statistics show that if you work with a disability lawyer, you are three times more likely to win approval than those applicants who apply on their own.

  • Advocacy for your rights: A good lawyer will act as your advocate throughout the initial application and any appeals, ensuring the law treats you fairly.

Atticus lawyers in North Carolina

Here are a few Atticus firms in the Tar Heel State:

Martin, Jones and Piemonte

Matthew T. Berry & Associates LLC

McChesney & McChesney

4601 Charlotte Park Dr., Suite 390, Charlotte, North Carolina 28217

2751 Buford Hwy NE, Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30324 (Serves North Carolina)

930 S Pine St., Spartanburg, SC 29302 (Serves North Carolina)

Get help applying for disability in North Carolina

Applying for disability benefits can feel overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. Take our 2-minute quiz to assess your eligibility, and a member of our team will reach out to provide guidance based on your circumstances. We will connect you with an experienced disability lawyer who can maximize your chances of a successful claim. 

When you work with Atticus, there are no upfront costs — you only pay your lawyer a one-time fee when they secure your benefits. Let us help you take the first steps toward gaining the support you need.

Common questions about disability in North Carolina

How do I qualify for disability in North Carolina?

To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.

What conditions qualify for disability in North Carolina?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in North Carolina?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in North Carolina. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in North Carolina?

The average SSDI payment in North Carolina is $1,699 per month. The average SSI payment is $589 per month. What you’ll earn depends on your income or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in North Carolina?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does North Carolina have a state disability program?

No, North Carolina does not have a state disability program. Only five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) have a state program. Residents of North Carolina can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.

Related resources for disability applicants in North Carolina:

North Carolina Disability Benefits: How to Qualify, Apply, and Get Approved

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

Disability lawyers in North Carolina

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

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How long has your condition made it hard to work?

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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