Many citizens across the United States struggle with disability. A number of these people are unable to work and unable to earn a living. Unfortunately, some of these people will not be able to survive on their own.
This is where Social Security can help. Social Security is a type of government-funded assistance, provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). As some people know, the SSA is a federally funded agency that administers all types of assistance. Two types of assistance qualify as disability programs.
As of now, the SSA administers Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for disabled persons. These benefits are dispensed for different reasons for different people. SSDI is available to workers accumulating sufficient work credits, whereas SSI is available to individuals of low income and low resources.
Again, both Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are governmental programs funded to help individuals and families in need. Although the medical criteria for each program are roughly the same, the vocational requirements are different.
Before applying, potential recipients should understand these crucial differences. Some people only qualify for SSDI, whereas others only qualify for SSI. Additionally, there are certain people who qualify for both programs. When applicants qualify for both SSDI and SSI, those applicants are determined to be both medically impaired and financially in need.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses multiple medical-vocational rules and guidelines to determine if an applicant is eligible. When an applicant is approved for disability benefits, that claimant begins to receive monthly payments. These payments are based on various vocational, financial, and medical criteria, depending upon the program.
Understanding SSI Benefits
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is completely need-based. These needs are based on disability as well as an applicant’s income and assets. Applicants with income and assets above a certain threshold will not qualify. In order to qualify, an individual must show less than $2,000 in assets and a couple must show less than $3,000.
If an applicant qualifies for SSI, he or she will also qualify for Medicaid in the state of application. Each state differs in the amounts it administers. These monthly benefits begin on the first month of the application’s submission. SSI beneficiaries can also qualify for food stamps in certain cases.
In general, more women qualify for SSI than for SSDI because SSDI has a strict work requirement. Men typically work longer and more often than women.
Applicants for SSI should understand what the Social Security Administration (SSA) is specifically seeking. The SSA technically evaluates “limited income” and “limited resources” when assessing an applicant’s qualifications.
Income includes money earned from work, money from other Social Security benefits, and free food or shelter. By comparison, the term “limited resources” includes cash, bank accounts, stocks, vehicles, personal property, and other items that can be converted to cash.
⮚ Understanding SSDI Benefits
Although these considerations are important in determining eligibility for SSI, the same factors are not considered when determining eligibility for SSDI.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are important because they are based specifically on work history and disability. These benefits are designed for those people who have paid into payroll taxes over a number of years and are now seriously disabled.
A sufficient work history makes applicants for SSDI “insured.” Partial disability benefits are also available to a disabled individual’s spouse and dependent children.
The SSDI program converts your earnings into work credits to determine your number of work credits. Older applicants will have to show more work credits to qualify. The SSA assesses both the recentness of an applicant’s work history and the duration of that work history.
⮚ Social Security Disability Criteria
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will deem a claimant ‘disabled’ if that claimant cannot generally perform previous work or new work. The SSA can deem an applicant to be disabled, whether or not the impairment is physical or otherwise.
To be deemed disabled, an applicant must be age 18 or older with a physical or mental impairment that:
- Renders the applicant unable to perform substantial gainful activity; and
- Is expected to lead to certain death; or
- Has already lasted at least one year or is expected to last at least one year.
These important criteria are the general guidelines for impairments. The SSA will look into particular cases more carefully, depending upon the impairment(s). If individuals are unsure about a given impairment, these applicants should consult a seasoned social security attorney.