Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may also be referred to as Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI) or simply, Social Security Disability (SSD).
Social Security Disability Insurance is a benefit program that is funded through contributions made to the Social Security trust fund through FICA Social Security taxes, which are deducted from each paycheck: These taxes are paid by employers, entrepreneurs and employees.
Depending on your circumstances, your work history, spouse’s work history or parent’s work history determines whether you qualify to receive SSD benefits.
California residents can receive a free disability consultation by calling toll-free 866-328-4916 m-f 8am-5pm.
The amount of monetary benefit a qualifying individual receives is determined by the earnings of the person on which the Social Security Disability Insurance is based (i.e., self, spouse or parent).
What is the Difference Between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income?
Although many people believe that Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are one in the same, this is not the case: While there are similarities, SSDI and SSI are two very different benefit programs.
The similarities include that both of these programs are overseen and managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In addition, both programs use the same manner to determine an applicant’s medical eligibility for disability.
The key difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income is that SSDI is available to individuals who have accrued an adequate number of work credits; whereas, SSI benefits are available to disabled, low-income individuals who have never held a job or who have not accumulated a sufficient number of credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
The Social Security Administration’s Work Credit Requirements to Receive SSD
Social Security Disability is funded through payroll taxes.
In general, an applicant (applicant’s spouse or parent) who has worked at least 5 of the last 10 years has accumulated enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Once a disabled individual receives Social Security Disability payments for 2 years, he or she becomes eligible to receive Medicare. In addition, if a disabled individual has dependents (minor children and/or a spouse), they are eligible to receive auxiliary benefits.
The Social Security Administration will not pay any benefits toward the first five months of an individual’s disability. The monthly benefit each individual receives after the five-month waiting period ends will vary because benefits are based solely on an individual’s work records.
Social Security Disability Eligibility
Besides having an adequate number of work credits, an individual must meet a variety of other criteria to be considered eligible to receive SSDI, these criteria include:
- Whether an impairment is present that is expected to last or has lasted for at least 12 months or will likely result in death.
- Whether the applicant can engage in significant gainful activity since the onset of his or her disability.
- The nature of the disability.
- The scope of the applicant’s impairment.
- The date the disability transpired.
- The spouse and children of a deceased individual who had accumulated an adequate amount of work credits prior to his or her death may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits based on the spouse’s work record.
The basics of Social Security Disability Insurance include:
- There are no income or resource limits when determining eligibility.
- Benefits are based on previous earnings.
- The individual needs a sufficient number of work credits to apply (as set forth by the SSA).
Once approved, he or she is eligible to receive Medicare after 2 years.
The benefit amount is based on the individual’s, spouse’s or parent’s average lifetime earnings.
Benefits are available to eligible family members.
Types of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):
- Retirement (62 years plus)
- Disability (including blindness)
Survivor benefits are not affected by additional income
Supplemental Security Income Benefit Requirements are Based on California and Federal Laws
SSI is a benefit program that is designed to assist disabled individuals (children and adults) who have limited income.
The Supplemental Security Income benefit program is paid for through general tax revenues; therefore, SSI benefits are based solely on financial need and have nothing to do with an individual’s work history.
In order to meet the SSA’s Supplemental Security Income requirements, an individual must have no more than $2,000 in assets or a couple that is married and living together must have no more than $3000 in assets.
On average, the home an individual (or couple) owns and resides in is not included in these assets. Furthermore, an individual’s car is usually disregarded as well: When applying for SSI, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds are all considered assets.
The 2018 basic monthly payment for Supplemental Security Income is $750 for an individual and $1,125 for a couple; however, the monetary benefit an individual receives is based on state and federal laws.
Other factors taken into consideration include where the applicant resides, who the applicant resides with as well as the applicant’s annual income and total of other monies received (i.e., social security benefits, pension and/or the value of items received from someone else).
Disabled individuals who qualify for SSI receive Medicaid and most are also eligible to receive food stamps.
When determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income, the SSA considers:
- Whether the household income falls within the allowable income limit.
- The date the disability began.
- The extent of the disability.
- The nature of the disability.
- Whether the disability has lasted or will last for at least 12 consecutive months or result in death.
- The individual’s ability to engage in gainful activity since the date the disability transpired.
The basics of Supplemental Security Income:
- Must have limited income and limited resources to qualify.
- Benefits are based on the individual’s need.
Once approved, the individual is Medicaid eligible.
No work credits are necessary to receive SSI.
Types of benefits:
- Disability (any age, including children).
- Aged (65 years and over).
- Blindness (any age, including children).
- There are no family benefits offered with SSI.
- The benefits an individual receives are based on state and federal laws.
- Household income does affect benefits.
- Where an individual lives and who he or she lives with may affect SSI benefits.
Approval Rates: SSDI vs SSI
Approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance tend to be higher than they are for Supplemental Security Income.
It is believed that SSDI applicants are approved more frequently because they are more likely to earn a higher wage and have better insurance coverage than an SSI applicant: As such, the Social Security Disability applicant is more likely to seek treatment for his or her medical problem than the Supplemental Security Income applicant is.
Furthermore, claim examiners and judges are favorable to applicants with an extensive work history, which the majority of SSI applicants do not have.
Social Security Disability Requirements: Applying for SSD
The online application to apply for Social Security Disability is lengthy; therefore, prior to beginning the application process, applicants should gather information related to their previous employment, medical history, medical diagnoses, physicians (including treatment received, addresses and phone numbers), procedures, procedure dates and locations, surgeries, surgery dates and locations, medications (including frequency and dosage) as well as detailed symptom information. Since applying for SSDI is a time-consuming, frustrating process, many people seek assistance when applying for Social Security Disability.
Since the process is lengthy and confusing, we recommend California residents seek out free SSDI counseling which is available by calling 866-328-4916.
How to Get Help Applying for Social Security Disability
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits involves tracking down various medical records, filling out what seems to be a never-ending array of forms, remembering small details, talking to multiple people about how the disability transpired and the symptoms being experienced.
All of this, while dealing with the issues related to the disability itself can be maddening:
These are the reasons that many individuals choose to hire an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to assist them as they apply for their SSDI benefits.
The majority of, if not all, Social Security Disability attorneys work on what is referred to as a contingency basis; therefore, these attorneys only receive their fees when they successfully attain disability benefits for their client.
Furthermore, an SSDI attorney is bound to the Social Security laws and regulations, which state that the fee charged cannot exceed 25 percent of the client’s back pay benefits, to a maximum of $6,000 (for most cases).
The cost might seem high, but compared to not receiving any benefits at all, it’s worth considering.