North Carolina Disability Determination Services

May 08, 2011 No Comments by

You have applied for Social Security disability benefits in North Carolina and then find out that your case has been sent to the North Carolina Disability Determination Services. So, who are they?

First, and this may surprise you, North Carolina Disability Determination Services is part of state government. Why is a state agency making decisions for a federal agency? It’s a old story. Back when Social Security disability was first set up in the 1950s having the states do disability determination helped get a few more votes in Congress. There have been occasional conflicts in the relationship between state agencies such as the North Carolina Disability Determination Services and the Social Security Administration but mostly things have gone reasonably smoothly.

Second, although North Carolina Disability Determination Services is an agency of the state of North Carolina, you would never know it by looking at the way they operate. The letterhead stationery they use is completely unlike the stationery used by other parts of the NC state government. They took the governor’s name off the stationery decades ago. I remember when they did it! North Carolina Disability Determination Services employees use e-mail addresses in the ssa.gov domain as if they were Social Security employees.

Social Security keeps a pretty close tab on North Carolina Disability Determination Services decisions. They way it works is that Social Security reviews a certain percentage of North Carolina Disability Determination Services decisions. They review almost all of the decisions that would approve a disability claim and a smaller percentage of the decisions to deny a disability claim. Note that reviewing almost all allowances but only some of the denials puts a certain bias into the process and that bias is no accident. Social Security can send a case back to North Carolina Disability Determination Services because they think a mistake was made. Social Security keeps track of the number of cases sent back. If too high a percentage of cases gets sent back, North Carolina Disability Determination Services would get in trouble and might be punished somehow. Within North Carolina Disability Determination Services they keep close track of the number of cases sent back to each disability examiner and individual examiners can get in trouble if too many of their cases are sent back.

If it sounds a bit like the system is rigged to turn down disability claims, because it is.

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About the author

Charles Hall is the lead attorney for the Charles Hall Law Firm in Raleigh, NC. He has been practicing in the Social Security Disability law field since 1979, is published, and is ready to help new clients win their benefits in North Carolina.