Although there are several different types of Social Security Disability benefit programs, the two most common types are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Working with a disability attorney that is experienced in both of these types of cases ensures that you have the best chance of successfully filing a disability application, whether for SSDI or SSI. There are two general criteria for receiving both SSDI and SSI, criteria based upon financial requirements, and criteria based upon requirements establishing disability.

To qualify for SSDI, an individual must have a sufficient number of work history credits acquired by working and paying into the Social Security system over some period of time. Notice paying into the system is a requirement.  Working for cash and not paying taxes won’t cut it. Also, if you are self-employed, consult an tax advisor about what taxes to pay to secure quarters of coverage with the SSA. If your work is such that all you pay taxes on are capitol gains, you will have issues with the SSA. Again, consult a CPA on this topic.

By paying into the SSA system, we call this achieving “insured status.” To achieve “insured status”, the test is twofold: typically, an individual must: (1) have worked in five of the ten years prior to incurring the disability- 20 of the last 40 quarters; and (2) have paid in 10 years over their life (paid in 40 quarters). The SSA gives credit in quarters, not months. This test can be relaxed for younger workers who have not had sufficient time to pay into the system.

The SSA will compute a Date Last Insured for each SSDI claimant. This is last date upon which you must prove disability  to win. As a simple example, consider a worker who had worked for steady 20 years, stopping in late 2010 after a car accident. That individual will be insured for benefits for 5 years after stopping work, or insured for benefits through 12/31/15. So long as he or she proves disability by that date, SSDI benefits can be paid. Let’s say that the claimant never got around to filing the claim until 2016. The claimant can still bring the case at any time, but they have to prove they were disabled on or before their insured status expired, which is this case is 12/31/15.  This topic of insured status can get confusing quickly. Contact an experienced attorney.

Contrary to what many believe, eligibility for SSDI (unlike SSI) has nothing to do with minimal or no income.

Of course, enough work history credits alone will not result in a successful award of SSDI, applicants must prove that they have some medical condition that meets the definition of disability utilized by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The disabilities must be severe enough to create the expectation that an applicant will be unable to work for at least 12 continuous months.

Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not require any work history credits for eligibility. All that is required to be eligible to receive SSI is limited resources (income, assets) and being either older than 65, blind or disabled. Thus, individuals that are disabled with limited income and resources (basically poor) may qualify for SSI, even without any work history. Applicants must prove that they have some medical condition that meets the definition of disability, which is the same medical definition used for determining a disability for SSDI purposes.

The total income, finances and resources of the applicant’s household will be considered when determining whether an individual meets financial SSI eligibility criteria for SSI. Thus, married spouses that co-habitate will have both of their incomes taken into consideration. Also, SSDI applies only to individuals 18 and over, but SSI does not, making it the only disability program available for individuals under the age of 18 (kids).  The parents’ income and assets can be deemed to the child for SSI purposes.

If you have any questions or concerns about any kind of disability case, including Social Security Disability, long-term disability, short-term disability, state retirement and workers’ compensation, call the Sullivan Law Office today! Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Distinguishing SSD And SSI