Understanding Social Security Disability

If you have recently become disabled and find yourself unable to work, you may have been told to apply for disability benefits through the social security administration. But what is social security disability?

Social security disability is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It pays monthly benefits to individuals whose disability makes them unable to work. There are two types of social security disability benefits available: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI makes payments to disabled employees who are “insured” due to their work history. Employees earn one credit for each $1,220 in earnings, for a total of four possible credits per year. The number of credits needed in order to qualify for SSDI depends on the applicant’s age and work history, and the benefit amount is based on the applicant’s average earnings over the course of his work history.

SSI makes monthly payments to individuals who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI and who are low-income.

Meeting the Social Security Disability Benefits Requirement

To meet the SSA’s disability requirement for both SSDI and SSI, you must be able to prove that you:

  • Have a physical impairment or mental disorder;
  • The impairment or mental disorder prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful employment (SGA), and;
  • The impairment or mental disorder is expected to result in your death or is expected to last, or has lasted, for 12 months.

An adult is considered to be engaged in substantial gainful employment if he earns $1,090 or more per month ($1,820 per month if the individual is blind). The SSA does have a fast-track process to qualification for disability benefits through its compassionate allowances. These are medical conditions that are so severe they automatically qualify as a disability.

Meeting the Low-Income Requirement

In addition to being disabled, SSI applicants must meet the SSA’s income requirements. An applicant is low-income if he earns less than $733 per month in countable income ($1,100 for a couple) and has less than $2,000 ($3,000 for couples) in countable resources.

How to Apply for SSDI & SSI

To apply for SSDI and SSI you must submit an application that documents your disability and its impact on your ability to work. In addition, SSDI applicants must provide information on their work history, while SSI applicants must submit financial information to show that they meet the low-income requirement.

Applications are reviewed by local SSA field offices or state disability agencies.

Applications for SSDI can be completed online or mailed in to the local SSA office. Applications for SSI cannot be submitted online. Instead, you must visit your local social security office, and a claims representative will complete the form with you.

It is advisable that you consult with an attorney knowledgeable in social security disability law prior to completing and submitting your application. An attorney can help you decide the best method for submitting your application and make sure you have provided all of the necessary documentation.

The Law Office of Attorney Neil H. Good has over 25 years of experience in social security disability law. If you have a first time application or have been denied social security disability benefits, contact our office online or call #(847) 577-4476.