People suffering from chronic medical conditions may be eligible for financial assistance through two programs run by the Social Security Administration. The Social Security disability insurance program, or SSDI, provides monthly payments in the event a medical condition causes you to be disabled and unable to work. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is another program with monthly payments to individuals who are blind, disabled, or 65 years of age or older. While they may sound similar, the two programs are quite different particularly when you look at the standards you must meet to qualify to receive benefits from each of them.
The information in this article acquaints you with the requirements to qualify for SSI and SSDI. An SSI or SSDI advocate at London Disability can then provide additional information that specifically addresses your situation.
How to qualify for SSDI
Social Security disability insurance is funded by payroll taxes, so you must have a work history to qualify for benefits. Working at a job or through self-employment allows you to accumulate up to four work credits each year based on your annual earnings. For instance, in 2021, you receive one work credit for every $1,470 in earnings. If you earn at least $5,880, you receive four credits for the year. The earnings requirements for a work credit change each year.
The general rule is that you need 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI, and 20 of those credits must be earned in the past 10 years, which include the year of the onset of your disability. Workers whose disability occurs at a young age may qualify for benefits with fewer credits. For example, you may be eligible for SSDI with as few as six work credits earned within years of the onset of a disability before you reach 24 years of age.
If you meet the qualifying standard of having sufficient work credits, you must be disabled. Social Security uses a definition for “disabled” that eliminates anything other than total disability. You must meet all the following rules to be eligible for SSDI as disabled:
1). You have a disability that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or more or is expected to cause your death.
2). The medical condition causing your disability does not permit you to adjust to another type of work.
3). Your disability prevents you from returning to work that you did before becoming disabled.
The process used by Social Security to evaluate a medical condition to determine if you are disabled and qualify for SSDI benefits is complicated, but an SSDI advocate at London Disability can explain it in terms of the circumstances of your situation.
How to qualify for SSI
If you never worked or did not work long enough to earn a sufficient number of work credits to qualify for SSDI, you may be eligible for SSI. SSI pays benefits to people who are disabled, blind, or 65 years of age or older. It is also available to children younger than 18 years of age who are disabled or blind.
You must have limited income and financial resources available to you. Resources include money on hand, bank accounts, investments, and other assets. Not included resources are a home you own provided it is your primary residence and a vehicle used for personal transportation.
A single person may not have resources with a value of over $2,000. The maximum increases to $3,000 for a couple.
You must be a citizen or national of the United States or be a non-citizen alien who meets other eligibility standards. For example, someone lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence may qualify for SSI, but you should speak with a disability advocate for additional information about non-citizens.
SSI recipients must reside within the U.S., which includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It also includes residents of the Northern Mariana Islands. Students living abroad to attend school and children of parents in the military assigned to duty stations outside of the U.S. may also qualify for benefits.
The following situations would disqualify a person from receiving SSI benefits:
A). Someone with an unsatisfied felony or arrest warrant for escape from custody, flight to avoid prosecution or imprisonment, or flight to escape.
B). Inmates in prisons, jails, detention centers, and other types of correctional facilities cannot qualify to receive benefits while confined.
C). Giving away assets and financial resources or selling them for less than their true value to meet SSI resource standards. Doing so may result in the person being ineligible for benefits for up to 36 months.
A disability advocate can review your claim and determine whether you qualify for SSI.
Speak with a Disability Advocate at London Disability
The disability advocates at London Disability know the rules and regulations used to determine whether you qualify for SSI and SSDI. Speak to one of them today to learn more.