You’ve worked hard all your life, but now you’re unable to continue working due to your declining health, or maybe you’ve reached an age where you simply can’t anymore. You might be wondering if you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Which type of claim is right for you? Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are disability benefit programs run by the Social Security Administration. The differences between these two programs can be confusing, so let’s discuss the major distinctions.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is considered an “entitlement program” that is generally available to anyone who has paid into the Social Security system for the last ten years. These recipients are considered “insured” because they have made their contribution to the Social Security trust fund through paying FICA Social Security taxes. SSDI provides benefits to people who cannot work enough due to certain medical conditions or disabilities. The amount of SSDI payments vary based on the beneficiary’s earnings record. SSDI recipients are eligible for medicare.

Who Can Apply for SSDI?

To be a candidate for SSDI, a person must have earned a particular number of work credits and be under the age of 65. Generally, an eligible individual would need to have worked at least five out of the last ten years. Federal law has strict definitions of disability, stating that the medical condition causing the disability be one that is expected to last one year or more, or potentially result in death. People with short-term or partial disabilities would not qualify. 

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is considered a “needs-based program,” meaning it is strictly for low-income American citizens and is funded by general taxes rather than from the Social Security trust fund. The standard federal SSI payment is a set amount that changes yearly based on the Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA). Additionally, most people who receive SSI will immediately qualify for benefits through Medicaid. 

Who Can Apply for SSI?

To meet the requirements for SSI, a person must have a very limited income and less than $2,000 in assets, or less than $3,000 for a couple. Most people who would qualify for SSI would also qualify for food stamps. Individuals over the age of 65 can qualify for SSI (regardless of their medical condition) if the income requirements are met. A person of any age, even children, can apply for SSI if they are disabled and have limited to no resources or income. 

Get Help Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

It can be risky to apply for SSDI or SSI on your own. Many applications are initially denied due to mistakes or misinformation, unsuccessful attempts to collect medical evidence, and/or a failure to cooperate with the Social Security Administration. If your disability benefits application has been denied, we can help. There is a small window of time to appeal your denial, and statistics show you are more likely to get approved with the assistance of an attorney who is familiar with disability law.

Call Karen Kraus Bill

The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill has extensive experience handling disability law cases for SSDI or SSI. It is beneficial to have a skilled attorney on your side to help you get all of the necessary records in order to create the strongest application possible. We can also represent you during the appeals process if you were previously denied. We are ready to focus on winning your disability case so you can continue to take care of your health. Contact us today!

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