Social Security Disability: The Two Main Types of Benefit Programs

by | Dec 17, 2014 | Lawyers


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Social Security Disability benefits are awarded by two separate government programs to individuals who can prove they are impaired or disabled enough to render them unable to do any facet of work whatsoever: SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income). While both of these programs are governed by the SSA (Social Security Administration) they are vastly different from one another and are utilized by disabled citizens with different criteria. More about these two programs, their requirements, and how they help disabled individuals is detailed below:

Supplemental Security Income

SSI is a government program which was created to help those who may have never been able to work their entire life, or may not have earned enough work credits before becoming disabled to qualify for SSDI. SSI is strictly a “needs-based” program, which means you need to have an extremely low combined household income and a minimum value of assets in order to qualify for benefits. This program isn’t funded by taxing payroll checks, but instead is paid for by the public through general taxes. Your monthly allotted amount is subject to your location, the family you live with and what their earnings are, as well as the “federal benefit rate” (FBR or maximum payout amount allowed) of the year. Once approved for SSI, after a certain amount of time passes you’ll become eligible to receive Medicaid and most SSI beneficiaries also qualify for the food stamp program as well. Regardless of age, there are adult and child benefits available to help any disabled individual (or their family) acquire sufficient enough funds to replace their inability to work in order to earn a living.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The SSDI program is a part of the “Social Security Act” which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. Originally it just provided retirements benefits to insure the elderly, but was later amended to allow the disabled to be eligible as well. SSDI is completely funded through payroll taxation; FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes for employees of a company and SECA (Self-Employment Contributions Act) taxes for those who are self-employed. Both of these taxes are also garnered in order to pay for Medicare as well. Most people who have worked for 10 years or more are eligible for SSDI benefits because they have earned enough “work credits” by paying into the Social Security trust over the years to label them as “insured.” A working individual can earn 1 credit each quarter for a maximum of 4 credits per year, the minimum amount required to earn one of these credits is so paltry even those working seasonally can acquire them.

Unfortunately, neither of these two benefits can be obtained without going through daunting processes and most applicants (60-70%) are initially rejected for a variety of reasons. You must be able to prove without a doubt your impairment is severe enough to meet the SSA’s criteria for determining disability. Substantial medical documentation is also required in order to support your claim. After being denied you should still appeal to an administrative law judge (ALJ) and having a professional disability attorney, like the ones found at website, at your side can do wonders to complement your claim. They’ll have the experience and knowledge which you lack, and this fact can make a world of difference. You can also visit their Twitter profile for more.