Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

When applying for Social Security disability benefits, claimants should be aware of the two types of disability programs available. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
For both programs, the SSA reviews whether the claimant meets the applicable definition of disabled. The SSA defines “disabled” as follows:

An individual shall be considered to be disabled for purposes of this title if he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.

On the SSA’s website, the SSA further describes its standard of disability and how it decides whether the claimant is disabled. If adequate proof of disability is not provided, a claim for either SSDI or SSI benefits will be denied. If a claim for SSDI or SSI benefits is denied, the claimant has a maximum of 65 days to timely appeal.

Social Security Disability Insurance (Title II)

SSDI benefits act as a federal insurance program to workers. Taxes are deducted out of workers’ payroll checks. The tax deductions serve as a premium to qualify for SSDI. If a worker has earned 20 Social Security credits in 10 years, then they will have enough work credits to be eligible or SSDI benefits. The SSA’s website provides more details on how work credits are earned.

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, the claimant must also be under 65 years old. For SSDI claimants, there are no requirements that the claimant have a limited amount of resources. However, as of June 2014, the SSDI claimant cannot be earning $1070 per month in wages. Of course, to be eligible for SSDI benefits, claimants must meet all other work earnings requirements and proof of disability requirements.

Supplemental Security Income (Title 16)

SSI benefits are available to “Every aged, blind, or disabled individual who is determined under part A to be eligible on the basis of his income and resources.” Unlike SSDI, SSI considers the income and resources of applicants to determine eligibility. As of June 2014, the SSI limits for resources are $2000 for an individual and $3000 for a couple. However, certain types of income and resources do not count toward this limit for resources (see the list of income and list of resources exceptions on the SSA’s website). If a claimant qualifies for food stamps, this may be a good indicator that their limited resources make them eligible for SSI benefits as well. Children may also be eligible for SSI.

SSI applicants should be mindful that there are many exceptions to disqualify them from SSI benefits. Such exceptions include someone who is a fugitive, someone who has violated probation or parole, someone who is in prison or jail, someone who is in a public institution, someone who is a non-citizen SSI recipient who fails to meet the alien status requirements, and someone who is an SSI recipient who is absent from the U.S. for a full calendar month or for 30 consecutive days or more. Unfortunately, there are some disability claimants who are not eligible for either SSDI or SSI program based on these exceptions.

Contact O’Ryan Law Firm for your Social Security Disability claim

If your Social Security disability claim has been denied, contact the O’Ryan Law Firm today. We can investigate your Social Security disability case at no charge. Call today: 317-255-7010.