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How to File For SSD, SSDI, and SSI

Anyone, young or old, can suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from working and earning a living. The financial hardship can be devastating, but Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance are two disability programs administered by Social Security that offer relief in the form of monthly payments.

The process to qualify for benefits can be difficult as you attempt to navigate through a confusing array of regulations and procedures. London Disability wants to help, and a good place to begin is by looking at how to file for SSD, SSDI, and SSI.

How to File for SSD

Any discussion about the federal government and its disability programs needs to include an explanation about terminology. When you see SSD written or hear someone say it, they could mean “Social Security disability” and be referring to the two programs that provide disability benefits. However, its more common use refers to the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

Filing for either of the two disability programs, SSI or SSDI may be accomplished online, in person at a Social Security office, or through a telephone interview with a Social Security representative. The only exception is for individuals applying for benefits through SSI based on age and not disability. Someone 65 years of age or older must use the telephone or in-person procedures because an online option is not, as of yet, available for someone seeking the benefits of SSD.

How to file for SSDI

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, pays monthly benefits to people who have accumulated a sufficient number of years working for an employer or in self-employment and paying Social Security payroll taxes on the money they earned. Social Security looks at the number of work credits earned over the years to determine if you are insured and eligible to apply for benefits of SSDI.

You acquire a work credit based on annual earnings from employment or self-employment. In 2021, one work credit is earned for each $1,470 you have in annual earnings. You may earn up to four work credits each year. The general rule is that younger individuals need fewer work credits to qualify for SSDI than an older person who becomes disabled.

If you meet the employment requirement to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must be disabled. The following is the criteria used by Social Security to determine if you are disabled:

  • Must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or impairments.
  • The impairments must make you unable to engage in substantial gainful activity.
  • The impairments must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months or be expected to result in your death.

Substantial gainful activity refers to the general activities, both physical and mental, normally associated with work. These may include lifting, sitting, standing, walking, and remembering. Activities related to caring for yourself do not generally indicate an ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.

If you are working and applying for SSDI, your monthly earnings may be used as a measure of your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity. For 2021, earning over $1,310 a month shows an ability to engage in substantial gainful activity that may disqualify you from receiving SSDI. The monthly earnings amount is $2190 for individuals disabled because of blindness.

How to file for SSI

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is another disability program. Benefits of SSI are available to adults and children who are disabled or blind and to individuals 65 years of age or older who are not disabled. There are income and resource restrictions that you cannot exceed to qualify for SSI benefits.

You cannot have assets, referred to as resources by Social Security, with a total value over $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for couples. Resources include cash on hand and in the bank, vehicles, stocks and bonds, real estate, and anything else that can be used to pay for food, shelter, or clothing. Resources do not include a vehicle used for transportation by you or a member of your household and the home you live in as your principal place of residence.

Besides meeting the financial requirements to qualify for SSI, you also must be blind or disabled unless applying for benefits based solely on being 65 years of age or older. The criteria to determine whether or not your medical condition makes you disabled under the definition used by Social Security is the same for adults applying for SSI as it is for someone applying for SSDI.

Children applying for SSI because of a disability must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment causing a marked and severe functional limitation. The impairment must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or be expected to cause death.

Let London Disability help with your SSD claim

When you need disability benefits, let the professionals at London Disability guide you through the process of filing for SSI and SSDI. Speak to one of our experienced and caring disability advocates about filing for disability or to discuss an appeal of a denial of a disability claim.

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