How to Apply for Social Security Disability in South Carolina

We meet with many people before they even apply for disability. They have questions about quitting work, the time they will be without income, and how the process works. I am always happy to sit down and discuss the details– even if you have not yet applied for disability.

When it is time to apply for disability, you have a few options. You can apply online through the Social Security Administration here.

You can also apply by phone: By phone – Call us at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call us at TTY 1-800-325-0778.

You can also go to your local Social Security office. If you live in Dillon, Darlington, Marion, and surrounding areas you apply at the Florence Office. The Florence office is listed below.
Social Security Office Information
Address: 181 DOZIER BLVD
FLORENCE, SC 29501
Phone: 1-888-385-1173
TTY: 1-843-667-6571
Hours:
Monday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

If you live in Loris, Conway, and surrounding areas, your office is:
Social Security Office Information
Address: 1316 3RD AVE
CONWAY, SC 29526
Phone: 1-888-577-6601
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Hours:
Monday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

(If you need to look up where your local office is, please use this link.)

Webinar on “Ticket to Work”

Many of my clients are curious about attempting to work while receiving disability benefits or while applying for disability benefits.  Each situation must be analyzed on a case by case basis, and I ask that my clients call me when they are contemplating this so that we can discuss the regulations.  There is an upcoming webinar by the Social Security Administration’s  on February 26th called “Ticket to Work: Free Support Services for People Who Have a Disability and Are Ready to Work.” Learn about it and register here.

 

(For further information, attorney Gordon Gates has written a blog post on Trial Work that provides some useful information as well.)

SC Needs More Free and Reduced Medical Clinics

US Representative Jim Clyburn highlighted this issue at the opening of a new clinic near Hilton Head according to an article by SC Now.

I think this is a huge problem facing citizens and residents of the Pee Dee. In Florence County, we are TRULY blessed to have Hope Health. So many of my clients are now able to receive routine, basic health care that they were not receiving before. They are able to establish themselves as a patient, get medication refills, and they receive quality health care. As an attorney, I can actually see the difference in a client’s health once they are receiving regular health care.

Unfortunately, my clients in the outlying rural counties still struggle. Their only real options are paying cash (Which is difficult when unemployed and out of work) or the emergency room.

Your Social Security case depends on medical evidence. We have a list of free and reduced clinics around the state and encourage you to utilize every bit of health care you can. We are continually researching options available for clients. There are also prescription drug programs through the drug manufacturers that you can apply for if you can not afford the medication.

There are also some steps that we can take as your attorney to request a consultative evaluation through the Social Security Administration. Those exams are not guaranteed, but when the judge will agree to order one, it at least helps us establish the medical problems and diagnosis.

I encourage clients that are NOT getting the health care they need to call me immediately so we can discuss the options available. It will benefit your health now, and also helpt the ALJ to determine if you are disabled and unable to work.

Alternative therapies and medicine

I’m fascinated by this article about alternative therapies. While the Social Security administration doesn’t put much credence in alternative therapies, this article shows how the medical community is beginning to embrace alternative therapies.

These statistics are fascinating:

At Regional’s three-year-old Center for Health and Healing, clients attend an eight-week mind-body program to learn proper breathing, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, self-hypnosis and more to reduce stress, fatigue and pain and improve sleep and mood, says manager Hunter Mahon. And three-quarters of those who have attended reported a benefit, she says.
Nearly 100 Michelin employees have gone through the program, said Jim West, manager of employee life services for the company, which contracts with Regional to provide the service. And as reported by the employees, anger and hostility were down 54 percent, depression and anxiety were reduced by 45 percent, and fatigue had declined by 33 percent, he says.

I do think there is a valid role of alternative therapy in testimony. I usually ask claimants “what other things do you do to manage your pain?” Most respond with heating pads, hot showers, ice packs, etc. I don’t see a downside to answering that you get a massage, do yoga or practice meditation and deep breathing exercises. It shows a commitment to trying to find a pain free life.

Alternative medical treatment that is doctor prescribed will be more helpful in your case. Social Security prefers hard medical evidence. Unfortunately, they don’t give much weight to chiropractic care or other forms of alternative medicine. If your doctor prescribes it and you follow through, that will help your case more.

I recently had a client that had done a lot of research and was self treating with herbs and supplements. Not only can that be dangerous, it will not be persuasive to the judge.

The best course of action is to talk through these things with your lawyer and consider how to best present them at your hearing.

(This post and all posts on this blog are intended to generate thought and discussion and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your state for further assistance.)

Do you think you are disabled?

By: Rangeley B. Chewning, Esquire

 

If you are considering applying for Social Security disability, there are some basic things that you should know. The Social Security Administration defines disability as:

  1. You can not do the work you did before
  2. You can not adjust to other work because of your medical conditions, AND
  3. Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

 

This is a strict definition of disability. There are three ways that you can apply for disability. You can apply online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov. You can also apply over the phone by calling your local social security office. Lastly, you can make an appointment to apply in person. Before you apply, you need to gather all of your doctors’ names and information. You will also need a list of all of your past employers.

Social Security follows a five step process to determine if you are disabled. You must meet all five of the questions in the process to be approved for disability. The first question is: Are you working? If you are currently working, it is unlikely that you are disabled.

If you are not working, the second question is: Do you have a disability that meets a listing or a combination of disabilities that cause you to be unable to work? Social Security has created many lists of medical impairments, diseases, and diagnoses. These are called “listings.” Our office is familiar with the listings and can help determine if you meet a prescribed listing.

If you meet a listing or you have a combination of disabilities that qualify, Social Security will then determine the third question: “How severe is your disability?” This is why it is very important to have open and honest conversations with your doctors and medical providers. Always be very clear with them about the problems you are experiencing and how these problems interfere with your daily life. Many people answer “fine” when the doctor asks them how they are doing, when in reality they are from being fine.

If Social Security determines that your disability is severe, they will then move to question number four: “Can you do your past work?” This is why it is so important to provide an accurate history of your employment. You need to remember how many pounds you lifted, how long you had to stand, and what physical demands the job required from you. We will assist you in making sure that this employment history is complete.

If Social Security determines that you can not do your past work, they will then analyze the fifth and final question: Can you do ANY work? This is a very serious question, and it requires a detailed analysis. There are many jobs that are available in the United States and Social Security considers all of them. Many jobs are low skill and allow a person to sit and stand at their option. If you can do that job, you are not considered disabled. This is the step in the process where Social Security considers your age, education, and work. It is important that Social Security receives the right records and evidence so that they can properly evaluate your capacity to work.

If you have applied for Social Security, or are considering applying for Social Security Disability, I would love to speak with you. You can call our office at 843-667-0400, my cell phone at 843-992-8977 or you may email me at rchewning@jebailylaw.com. I meet with clients from all over the Pee Dee, as well as other areas in the state.