I don’t think I can work. Am I disabled? Do I qualify for Social Security?
by José Enrique Perez
Sometimes we do not feel well. We become sick. We may be disabled. We hear all the time about Social Security benefits. What are those? Do I qualify for them? There are at least two types of Social Security benefits when you are disabled.
The main difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the fact that SSDI is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
While many people don’t distinguish between Supplemental Security Income and SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance, they are two completely different governmental programs. While both programs are overseen and managed by the Social Security Administration, and medical eligibility for disability is determined in the same manner for both programs, there are distinct differences between the two programs.
What Is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income is a program that is strictly need-based, according to income and assets, and is funded by general fund taxes (not from the Social Security trust fund). SSI is called a “means-tested program,” meaning it has nothing to do with work history, but strictly with financial need. To meet the SSI income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income. We will discuss the details about this next month.
Disabled people who are eligible under the income requirements for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid in the state they reside in. Most people who qualify for SSI will also qualify for food stamps, and the amount an eligible person will receive is dependent on where they live and the amount of regular, monthly income they have. SSI benefits will begin on the first of the month when you first submit your application.
What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through payroll taxes. SSDI recipients are considered “insured” because they have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes. SSDI candidates must be younger than 65 and have earned a certain number of “work credits.” After receiving SSDI for two years, a disabled person will become eligible for Medicare.
Under SSDI, a disabled person’s spouse and children dependents are eligible to receive partial dependent benefits, called auxiliary benefits. However, only adults over the age of 18 can receive the SSDI disability benefit.
There is a five-month waiting period for benefits, meaning that the SSA won’t pay you benefits for the first five months after you become disabled. The amount of the monthly benefit after the waiting period is over depends on your earnings record, much like the Social Security retirement benefit.
Approval rates for SSDI are higher on average than they are for SSI. There are a number of possible reasons for this. First, SSDI are more likely than SSI applicants to have a higher income and insurance coverage, which means they’re more likely to have seen a doctor for their medical problems (It’s very difficult to win disability without seeing a doctor regularly.) Also, judges and claims examiners give more credibility to applicants who have a long work history, which most SSI applicants don’t have.
You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about social security policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with representation in a social security petition. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.
I represent individuals in social security cases. If you have any questions or concerns about a social security case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Law Office of Jose Perez has now moved and is located at 659 West Onondaga Street, Upper Level, Syracuse, New York 13204. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the July edition and stay safe, healthy and away of the Coronavirus.