Social Security Disability Insurance is a government program designed to provide financial assistance to workers with disabilities and their families. The Social Security Administration reports that over 9 million people receive support through SSDI.
Supplemental Security Income, on the other hand, offers financial support to individuals with disabilities who meet income and asset limits, regardless of their work history, to help meet their basic needs. Understanding the eligibility criteria and the application process is important for those seeking these benefits.
SSDI and SSI eligibility
To qualify for SSDI, you must have a sufficient work history. You earn credits based on your employment and payment of Social Security taxes. Generally, you must accumulate 40 credits, with 20 made in the last ten years before your disability.
You must have a severe disability that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. The Social Security Administration defines disability as a condition expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. SSDI is available to individuals under the full retirement age. There are specific rules for those over retirement age.
SSI is a need-based program, so your income and assets must fall within certain limits. The Social Security Administration considers income from various sources, including wages, pensions and other benefits. To qualify for SSI, you must either be over age 64 or have a disability or blindness. SSI is generally only available to U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, such as lawful permanent residents.
How to apply
Collect necessary documents, including medical records, work history and financial information. These documents will help support your application. You can apply for SSDI and SSI online, over the phone or in person at a Social Security office.
Provide accurate and detailed information on the forms. Make sure to include your medical evidence, work history and financial information. The SSA may ask you to attend medical examinations to assess your disability. Cooperation is necessary.
After you submit your application, the SSA will review your case. It may take several months to receive a decision. Be patient and prepared to provide any extra information requested. If they deny your application, do not lose hope. You can appeal the decision within 60 days.
Though they have distinct eligibility criteria and application processes, SSDI and SSI both serve as important financial support systems for disabled individuals.