Social Security Disability
Navigating the world of Social Security can be confusing and frustrating for anyone. If you are disabled and in need of assistance, it may seem like they have purposely made it difficult for you to find answers and get the help you need. Understanding the different programs and knowing if you qualify is an important first step to getting your claim approved.
Q: Do I need SSDI or SSI and what is the difference?
A: Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are services managed by the Social Security Administration, and both are aimed at helping disabled individuals with financial assistance. However, beyond those similarities, the programs are quite different. SSI was created to help individuals over the age of 65 who have very limited financial assets and may have a difficult time paying for basic necessities due to disability or blindness.
SSDI, on the other hand, is an earned benefit, or entitlement program, that is available to individuals under the age of 65 who are deemed too disabled to work. Because it is an earned benefit, the amount each individual may receive from SSDI is dependent upon their earnings record – the more income an individual previously earned, the higher their benefit will be. By contrast, SSI is a relatively fixed benefit and may actually be reduced if the recipient receives other income.
Q: Who qualifies for Social Security Disability?
A: Anyone under the age of 65 who has paid into Social Security for at least 10 years may qualify for SSDI, although most award recipients are between the ages of 50 and 63. All applicants for SSDI must be sufficiently disabled as to prevent them from working, even in a reduced capacity, and the impairment must be expected to last at least 12 months or longer.
As part of the application process, you may be required to submit medical records which can verify your condition and diagnosis. Certain conditions may automatically qualify you for SSDI, while others may require a more significant review process.
Additionally, anyone who is still able to work in a limited capacity and is currently earning over $1,130 per month will not be eligible for SSDI.
Q: How can I make sure my claim is accepted?
A: The acceptance rates for SSDI can vary widely depending on where you live. Nationally, the acceptance rate has decreased almost every year since 2001, and the total number of individuals receiving benefits has also been reduced in recent years. Meanwhile, the termination rate for SSDI benefits has increased steadily since 2011.
SSDI applications can be denied for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most common reason is errors in the information entered. This can be the result of misunderstanding the question or form, or simply due to the length and time it takes to complete the application. In either case, a small mistake or omission can be the difference between an acceptance or a denial. There are numerous services designed to help you through the application process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Taking advantage of these services can go a long way to ensuring your claim is accepted.