Most people unfamiliar with disability programs don’t realize that there are actually two different programs (SSI/SSDI) that pay individuals who can no longer maintain gainful employment due to a medical or mental health condition. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) both provide needed financial assistance disabled, eligible people. In fact, approximately 17 million people are currently receiving benefits under both programs. The two programs are run by the US Social Security Administration (SSA).
Located in Florida, the team of attorneys affiliated with My.Attorney app provides comprehensive legal services to disabled individuals and their families throughout the nation. Well-versed in the eligibility rules governing disability benefits, our social security disability lawyers can help you navigate the entire process, from preparing and submitting a benefits application, to an appeal, to a disability hearing, to final approval. When you consult us, you will have peace of mind, knowing that dedicated advocates of the disabled are on your side. If you have any questions about your condition or eligibility please contact our office today.
The two programs (SSI/SSDI) have some similar requirements, but there are some significant differences. To qualify for either program you must have an eligible medical or mental health condition that interferes with your ability to work. You should be aware that it is not enough for you to simply have a medical or mental health condition. In order to receive the financial assistance provided by SSA the condition must “interfere with basic work-related activities.” While your condition may permit you to work part-time, it must be so severe that it keeps you from significant gainful activities.
Second, the condition must be one of the conditions recognized by the SSA. Unfortunately, not all medical conditions qualify, even if they are quite severe. The Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions that are eligible for disability coverage. They publish that list in a manual often called the blue book, that has all of the conditions which are eligible. To give you an idea, the SSA covers conditions in the following categories:
- Musculoskeletal Conditions – back injuries
- Senses/Speech Conditions – vision and hearing loss
- Respiratory Illnesses – COPD or asthma
- Cardiovascular Conditions – heart failure or coronary artery disease
- Digestive Disease – liver disease or IBD
- Kidney Diseases
- Blood Diseases – hemolytic anemias, bone marrow conditions
- Immune System Disorders – HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin Diseases – dermatitis
- Hormone Diseases/Imbalances
- Health Disorders – Sjogren’s Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome
- Neurological Disorders – multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease
- Mental Health Conditions – depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, or retardation
You should know that simply because your condition is not listed specifically in the listing does not mean that you are not eligible. If your condition is medically equivalent to another condition covered by the SSA, you will likely be eligible for disability benefits.
Finally, both programs require that the condition be expected to result in death or last longer than a year. It is not enough for you to have an eligible condition that is severe and listed by the SSA. If it is expected to be temporary, you would likely not qualify for SSI or SSDI.
Please contact the team by calling #4LAW, filling out the contact form or downloading the My.Attorney app to get professional assistance in determining if your condition meets the requirements for each program. The rules are complex and change frequently. We have decades of experience in disability cases and would love to help determine your eligibility for disability benefits.
While both programs have similar requirements with respect to the severity, type, and duration of the medical or mental health condition, there are some significant differences.
SSDI is disability insurance. This means that as you work, a portion of your earnings is taken through taxes to pay for disability coverage if you need it in the future. As a result, you have to have contributed to the system in order to qualify. The way the SSA handles this is through things called “work credits.” For every fiscal quarter that you work, you accrue work credits. Over your life, as you work, the work credits accumulate. If you have enough work credits prior to your disability, you can qualify for SSDI.
Determining your work credits and when they were accrued is complicated. Things change the older you get and figuring out how your work credits are determined can become overwhelming. You do not need to do it alone.
One last point to remember is that SSDI is not based on your income or spouse’s income or assets. You are eligible if you have paid into the system and have the necessary work credits. Since it is not a need-based program, your wealth and income are not considered in qualifying for coverage.
SSI, on the other hand, is based on need. To qualify for SSI, you must have limited income and few assets. Social Security requires SSI recipients to have less than $2,000 in assets, for a single person, and $3,000 for a couple.
The income limit is particularly complicated. The way Social Security figures income differently than the way we usually think of income. It can include money from things like unemployment, Social Security retirement, or gifts from friends. But it also excludes part of your income from wages in its calculations! The income limit for SSI is the federal benefit rate (FBR), which is $771 per month for an individual and $1,157 per month for a couple in 2019. Remember, though, that not all income is countable, and so you can earn more than $771 per month and still qualify for SSI.
Contact Our Florida SSI/SSDI Disability Benefits Attorney
The SSA’s disability programs are complicated. Even figuring out if you qualify and for which program can be very difficult. But you have help. The attorneys affiliated with My.Attorney provide comprehensive legal services to disabled individuals and their families throughout the nation. Well-versed in the eligibility rules governing disability benefits, we can help you navigate the entire process, from preparing and submitting a benefits application, to an appeal, to a disability hearing, to final approval. When you consult us, you will have peace of mind, knowing that dedicated advocates of the disabled are on your side. If you have any questions about which program is right for you ( (SSI/SSDI) or your condition and eligibility please contact our office today by calling #4LAW, filling out the contact form or by downloading the app.