South Carolina Disability Payments: How to Qualify

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in April 2024 to make sure all info below is accurate. Interested in South Carolina disability benefits? First, know that South Carolina is home to one of the oldest and largest trees in the country, and the place where sweet tea was born. Famous Palmetto Staters include Reese Witherspoon, Stephen Colbert, and Michael Jordan, despite South Carolina having no professional sports teams. But not everyone in South Carolina is busy playing golf or enjoying a day at the beach.

Nearly 1 in 3 South Carolina residents (29%) today lives with some type of disability. When you’re unable to work for at least one year because of a medical condition, you still need income. Federal benefits each month can help ease the stress of losing your work earnings. Two U.S. government programs offer monthly South Carolina disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  2. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

We pulled together information on these programs below to help South Carolina residents like you understand how to get Social Security disability benefits.

What South Carolina Disability Claimants Must Know About Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The SSI disability program supports individuals with low incomes who are blind, disabled, or over 65 and meet eligibility requirements. Here are the basics for applicants interested in those monthly payments.

1. What Are the Financial Eligibility Rules for SSI Disability?

Residents from McColl in the Pee Dee to Hardeeville in the Low Country who want SSI must meet the following requirements:

  • Earn monthly income from wages and/or other sources below $2,590 if you are blind and $1,550 if you have another disability. Child support, alimony, earned interest, SNAP, TANF, etc., also count toward that limit.
  • Own less than $2,000 in total resources ($3,000 for couples), including cash in bank accounts and items you could sell, like stocks and bonds, lottery tickets, etc. A wedding ring, home, and vehicle you own as well as other daily living items aren’t counted toward your total.

Important: If you live with your spouse, a relative, or roommate, the Social Security Administration looks at income for every person in your household.

2. What Are the Age Requirements for SSI Disability?

South Carolina residents 65 and older are eligible based on age alone. Younger disabled residents need a Disability Determination Services exam to establish eligibility.

The program also pays South Carolina disability benefits to children younger than 18 who meet the SSA’s definition of disabled.

Pro Tip: Unable to pay for your own doctor visits and medical records? A South Carolina disability lawyer can likely pay for those on your behalf without charging any money up front.

3. How Much Does SSI Pay?

Approved applicants can receive up to $943 every month; couples can get no more than $1415. Your benefit may go up if Congress approves a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

4. How Long Can I Get SSI Payments?

SSI recipients must pass an update every 3-7 years to keep receiving benefits. Once you turn 65, your South Carolina disability benefits continue as long as you meet all SSI program financial requirements. If you’re under 65 and don’t pass the update, then your benefits end.

5. Does the SSI Program Offer Health Insurance?

Yes! You should qualify for Medicaid coverage the same month the SSI program deposits your first South Carolina disability benefits payment.

However, be aware that they will deduct Medicaid premiums from your monthly amount.

How to Get SSDI in South Carolina

What South Carolina Disability Applicants Should Know About Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The SSDI program uses deductions from employee paychecks to deliver benefits based on your work history. If you’re disabled and have medical evidence that shows you cannot work at all, this program may help you. Here are the basics to learn if you may qualify for South Carolina disability benefits from SSDI.

1. Who Can Qualify for SSDI Benefits?

Monthly benefit seekers who meet all these disability requirements can apply for SSDI:

  • Are you younger than age 67 and not currently receiving any Social Security benefits? The program stops paying SSDI on that birthday because you start receiving regular Social Security.
  • Do you have 40 Social Security work credits? The easiest way to know is if you worked at least 5 in the last 10 years while paying Your eligibility ends if you don’t work for 60 months because you stopped paying FICA taxes.
  • Have you seen a doctor in the past year about your medical condition? If not, then you can get a consultative exam to confirm your disability.
  • Did your doctor say they expected you to be out of work for at least a year or for your medical condition to result in death? If your condition should improve in less than 12 months so you can work again, you aren’t eligible.

Pro Tip: A South Carolina disability lawyer can cover doctor visits and medical records if you can’t afford them.

Remember, if you have some “no” answers, you may still qualify for SSI benefits.

2. What Does SSDI Pay in Monthly Benefits?

The SSA calculates each person’s South Carolina disability benefits amount the same way they do retirement payments. They review 35 years of your work history, average your highest paychecks earned over a decade, and adjust that amount for current inflation. Then, they pay you about 40% of that final amount in monthly SSDI benefits.

The average monthly SSDI payment for 2024 is $1,537; the most is $3,822. You may also get more if Congress passes a COLA.

3. How Long Does It Take to Get Your First SSDI Payment?

Most people wait at least 5 months for the South Carolina Disability Determination Services office to review their claims. Factor in another month before you can receive your first disability payment. Most recipients get paid their first benefits check in about 6 months.

In the past decade, the Social Security Administration only awarded benefits to about 1 in 5 people the first time they apply.

There are several different chances to appeal a denial:

  1. File a reconsideration. You have 60 days to ask for an initial appeal. You may have to wait 3.5 months or longer to get through this step in the appeals process.
  2. Request a hearing. If you’re turned down again, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. This process can take up to a year to complete.
  3. File a lawsuit in federal court against the Social Security Administration. Most people don’t take things this far, as it can be quite costly.

Unfortunately, even if you do succeed, you may wait 2 years for that first benefit payment.

Important: If you have Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) or are on dialysis when you apply, you can get benefits much faster. The SSA automatically flags those claims for Quick Disability Determinations (QDD), which usually occur in 30 days or less.

Pro Tip: Hiring a South Carolina disability attorney can make you three times more likely to succeed. Bonus: You only have to pay legal fees once you win your case.

4. How Long Can I Receive SSDI Payments?

You can receive benefits until age 67 if you pass updates every 3-7 years showing your medical impairment did not improve. After that, you automatically switch over to Social Security retirement benefits. Your monthly amount stays the same, and federal law says no person can draw both retirement and disability at the same time.

5. Can I Get Health Insurance When I Qualify for SSDI Benefits?

Yes, but you have to wait a little while before Medicare coverage begins. You can officially enroll in Medicare 24 months after your SSDI payments start. Most people must wait until the year they turn 65 to get this type of health insurance.

Much like SSI, they’ll deduct monthly Medicare premiums from your benefit payment.

24 Months After SSDI Payments Begin, You'll Get Medicare Coverage

How to Apply for South Carolina Disability Benefits

Ready to start the application process? No matter which program you choose, you have 4 different ways you can file your application:

  1. Make an appointment at your local Social Security office and apply in person. You can also show up and test your luck without one, but either way, plan to spend at least 4-5 hours filling out forms.
  2. Call 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, 8am to 7pm Eastern or the TTY-TDD number at 1-800-325-0778 if you’re hard of hearing. An agent can help you file for Social Security disability by phone if you have your documents ready.
  3. For free through a South Carolina disability attorney, which triples your benefit approval odds within 6 months.
  4. For SSDI benefits only, you have another option: Apply online at People who wish to apply for SSI must choose one of the other three methods, as you cannot start that process online.

Important: See our disability application checklist for the documents and other proof you need to file along with your claim forms. Any application that includes medical records will likely get South Carolina disability benefits paid faster!

Can Disabled Veterans Qualify South Carolina Disability Benefits?

Potentially, yes! Even better, veterans with a 100% P&T rating may also qualify for faster claim reviews and disability determinations. The Social Security Administration can quickly pull digital records about your medical conditions and military service directly from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

How to Get Free Expert Assistance with Your South Carolina Disability Benefits Claim

Pro Tip: Be almost 3x more likely to receive disability benefits by working with a lawyer.

Working with a Social Security lawyer who has plenty of experience is often a good idea. Attorneys know exactly which medical documents you need to submit with your SSI or SSDI claim. They also won’t charge for legal information or assistance filing your paperwork you if you don’t receive benefits.

And if you do win monthly payments, then they only charge one small fee.

Ready to get the help you need for free? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz and see if you may qualify:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO ofThe Word Factory,a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer,helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/