South Carolina Disability Benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI

Find out about South Carolina's state supplemental payments, plus how to appeal a denial of Social Security disability or SSI and whether you qualify for Medicaid.

By , Attorney Seattle University School of Law
Updated 7/16/2024

If you live in South Carolina and are unable to work full-time for at least one year due to illness or injury, you might be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). South Carolina doesn't provide temporary disability benefits, though some employers offer both short-term and long-term disability policies through private insurance companies.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability in South Carolina

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal agency, so disability applications are the same no matter what state you live in. You have several methods you can use to begin your claim for benefits.

  • One popular method is filling online using the Social Security web portal. Claims for SSDI can be submitted entirely through the portal, but SSI claimants will be contacted by a Social Security representative to complete the application.
  • You can call the agency hotline at 800-772-1213 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants can use the TTY number at 800-325-0778.
  • If you'd like help filing your application, you can go in person to the Social Security field office nearest you. There are around 20 field offices in South Carolina, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Keep in mind that if you wish to apply in person, some offices require that you make an appointment before you come in, so you should call ahead to check.

South Carolina SSDI and SSI Disability Requirements

Many people use the terms SSDI or SSI interchangeably, but they are actually two different programs. Eligibility for SSDI is determined by your work history, earnings record, and how much you've paid into the program by way of payroll taxes. By contrast, SSI is a needs-based program, and eligibility is based on certain low income and asset limits.

Because the medical definition of disability is the same for both SSDI and SSI, both programs have essentially the same application forms, and there isn't a difference in the disability determination process. A good rule of thumb is that if you have less than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for a couple) and earn less than around $1,900 per month, you probably qualify for SSI. If you've earned around $6,500 each year for the past five years, you probably qualify for SSDI.

SC Disability Determination Services

Social Security disability benefits are provided by the federal government, but a state agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS) helps Social Security make decisions about who is disabled. In South Carolina, DDS is a section of the Vocational Rehabilitation Department, with offices in West Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville. These offices process tens of thousands of disability applications for Social Security. You can contact the department at 803-896-6500 or 800-832-7526.

Claims examiners at DDS review your application and medical records to determine whether you meet a listed impairment or have a residual functional capacity that rules out all work. For fiscal year 2023, examiners in South Carolina approved 41.5% of initial disability claims. If you aren't awarded benefits on your first attempt, you can appeal ("request reconsideration") by asking a different examiner to review your claim and see if the initial denial was incorrect. Only about 17% of claimants in South Carolina are awarded after reconsideration, however, but you can appeal further by asking for a disability hearing.

South Carolina Social Security Disability Appeals

Social Security's Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) schedules and conducts disability appeal hearings. There are four OHOs that handle hearings in South Carolina. Your claim will be assigned to a specific office according to your geographic location. Contact information for the offices can be found below.

Charleston OHO (serving Beaufort, Charleston, Conway, Georgetown, and Walterboro)
Suite 300
3875 Faber Place Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
Telephone: 877-405-1467
Fax: 833-604-0730
eFile Fax: 877-470-5098
Charlotte OHO (serving Rock Hill)
Suite 200
2201 Coronation Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28227
Telephone: 888-397-4124
Fax: 833-719-0412
eFile Fax: 877-470-5101
Columbia OHO (serving Aiken, Bennettsville, Columbia, Florence, Orangeburg, and Sumter)
Suite 215
101 Executive Center Drive
Columbia, SC 29210
Telephone: 866-399-6950
Fax: 833-710-0401
eFile Fax: 877-470-5093
Greenville OHO (serving Anderson, Clinton, Greenwood, Greenville, and Spartanburg)
475 North Main Street
Mauldin, SC 29662
Telephone: 866-827-6721
Fax: 833-509-0823
eFile Fax: 877-470-5096

The average wait time (from submitting a hearing request to holding a hearing) in the above offices is almost 9 months as of May 2024. Judges in these OHOs issued favorable decisions awarding benefits in about 53% of hearings.

How Much Are Disability Benefits in SC?

SSI monthly payment amounts are determined by the federal benefit rate—$943 in 2024—minus any countable income you have for that month. South Carolina provides an Optional State Supplement to the federal benefit rate for residents who receive SSI and are residing in a licensed long-term care facility or an assisted living facility.

You can receive up to $1,645—plus a personal needs allowance of $79 or $99, depending on whether you have income other than SSI—from the Optional State Supplement. (Most of the supplemental payment goes to the residential facility.) The supplement is administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. You can learn more or apply online at the program website. The department encourages you to apply even if you're unsure about whether or not you're eligible.

People who receive SSDI aren't eligible for a state supplement, but SSDI pays more on average ($1,537 per month in 2024) than SSI does. The maximum monthly benefit you can receive in SSDI for 2024 is $3,822.

Social Security Disability and Health Insurance

If you receive SSI, you may also qualify for health insurance through the state's Healthy Connections Medicaid program. Below, you can find the 2024 income and resource eligibility requirements to receive Medicaid in South Carolina.

Family Size

Monthly Income

Annual Income










You can apply for Medicaid online or by downloading and completing the Healthy Connections application form and sending it by mail to:

SCDHHS-Central Mail
P.O. Box 100101
Columbia, SC 29202-3101

You can also submit the completed application electronically to [email protected], or visit your local Department of Health and Human Services county office.

If you're receiving SSDI benefits, you'll automatically be enrolled in Medicare two years after you first become entitled to receive benefits. For most people, this means they can get Medicare two years after their disability onset date, plus a five month SSDI waiting period.

Getting Help From a Disability Lawyer

While Social Security doesn't require you to have legal representation at any stage of the disability determination process, most people find it useful to have an attorney's help. An experienced disability lawyer can help you file timely appeals, submit important medical evidence, and represent you in front of an administrative law judge.

Most disability lawyers offer free consultations, so don't hesitate to ask around to find an attorney who will be a good fit for you. If you're not sure where to start looking, check out the free attorney directories on or, two sites that are part of the Nolo family.

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