South Carolina
Vocational Rehabilitation Department

Preparing and assisting eligible South Carolinians with disabilities to achieve and maintain competitive employment

Disability Determination Services

The SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department’s Disability Determination Services processes Social Security and Supplemental Security Income claims under the provisions of the Social Security Act. Individuals receive benefits from these programs when a physical or mental impairment prevents them from having substantial gainful employment.

Photo: DDS personnel looking at claims.

In both programs, benefits normally continue on claims that have been allowed until the individual medically recovers or returns to work. Under work-incentive provisions of Social Security regulations, however, an individual whose medical condition has not changed substantially but who is attempting to return to work may continue to receive monthly benefit payments and medical insurance coverage for an extended time.

The determination whether a person meets disability provisions of the law is made by a team consisting of a disability examiner and a state agency medical consultant. These professional personnel are trained in the careful and objective evaluation of medical and vocational factors under the requirements of the Social Security Act. It is their responsibility to ensure that sound medical evidence is obtained, that vocational factors are considered when appropriate, and that the decision to allow or deny benefits meets all requirements of Social Security law and regulations.

This division operates from regional offices in Charleston, Greenville, West Columbia and Lexington. The West Columbia location also houses the administrative staff and the Disability Hearing Section.

The Disability Hearing Officers conduct due process hearings on cases involving potential termination of benefits. These hearings can be conducted either face-to-face or via video delivery.

The Disability Determination Services through an agreement with Public Employees Benefit Association (PEBA) adjudicates disability claims for Police Officer Retirement and Continuing Disability Review on PEBA disability recipients.

The Disability Determination Services State Claims Office in Lexington processes the Medicaid claims for disability through an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services. These claims include the Childhood TEFRA claims, working disabled claims, as well as Medicaid disability claims.

In all, the division is expected to receive and adjudicate more than 81,000 claims in the current fiscal year.