Make Sure You Qualify for Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the U.S. Federal government’s two largest programs aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities. SSDI was introduced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956, while SSI was created in 1974.
These programs, though falling under the management of the Social Security Administration, address different disability needs and have different requirements for qualification.
- The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI pays benefits to qualified SS insured members who may be 65 years old or below and who are also totally disabled. To qualify for payment, a member must meet the following requirements:
- Had worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes while employed (these taxes are automatically deducted from the worker on a monthly basis);
- Has earned the number of credits required by the SSA (workers earn four credits annually); and,
- Is suffering from total disability
Total disability or disability, as considered by the SSA, means: (i) inability to perform previous work, as well as any other work, due to the medical condition; (ii) the disability has either lasted for a year or is likely to last for a year or more; and, (iii) the disability can result in death.
A list medical conditions that are severe enough ahs been drawn up by the SSA; finding one’s health problem in this list would automatically include him/her in the roster of disabled insured SS members. Not finding one’s health condition in the list, however, will require an evaluation by Social Security in order to determine if the health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.
- The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability Program
SSI provides non-taxable financial assistance to Americans, who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government.
The source of SSI funding is the U.S. Treasury general funds (rather than the SS taxes paid monthly by insured SS members); thus, neither SS credits nor previous employment is required from applicants to qualify into the program.
The main intent of the SSI program is to help provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. These basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. In a number of states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.
As explained in the website of the firm Hankey Law Office, disability benefits vary by amount and duration, regardless, receiving this will definitely be huge financial help whether you have recently been diagnosed with a disability or have been disabled since childhood. To help make sure that you get approved for either an SSDI or SSI benefit if and when you file an application, having an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer helping you through the whole process may be advantageous.