What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Will The Condition You have Determine How Much You Get For Disability?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Firstly, Social Security disability is not based upon what medical or mental condition an individual has. Social Security disability is based upon ďresidual functional capacityĒ. Residual functional capacity is what an individual is able to do in spite of their impairment. Residual functional capacity is what enables an individual to work or prevents them from working.
The definition of disability for Social Security purposes is that an individual has been unable to work at a substantial work activity level--or that they expect to be unable to work at substantial work activity level--for twelve months due to a medically determinable mental or medical impairment.
So, if an individualís condition has nothing to do with the amount of their disability benefit, what determines how much they will receive for their disability benefit? It depends upon which disability program pays their disability benefit.
Social Security manages two disability programs: Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI). If an individual is entitled to Social Security disability, their disability benefit amount is determined by their earnings prior to becoming disabled. Generally, the longer an individual was able to work and the higher their earnings, then the higher their monthly disability benefit amount is.
If an individual is entitled concurrently (meaning entitled to both social security disability and SSI) or to SSI only, their benefit is based upon a monthly earnings amount set by Social Security each year (meaning that there is a fixed maximum monthly SSI benefit that applies to all SSI recipients). Regarding "concurrent benefits", there are times when individuals who are entitled to Social Security disability can receive SSI. Social Security beneficiaries are not entitled to a disability benefit until the six month following their date of onset.
Translation: when you are approved for SSD, your first five months of benefits are taken back by the federal government; as a consequence of not receiving their SSD benefits during this five month waiting period, they are able to receive SSI disability benefits for that time period as long as they meet income and resource limits for the SSI program.
There are some individuals whose monthly Social Security disability benefit is low enough to enable them to continue to receive SSI even after they begin to receive Social Security disability. Such individuals, as previously stated, are in the position of receiving "concurrent" (i.e. dual) benefits.
However, it is important to note that all concurrently entitled disability beneficiaries are bound by the maximum SSI monthly disability amount. So, if you receive both SSD and SSI monthly disability benefits, your total benefit amount can never be greater than the amount received by someone who is receiving a full SSI benefit each month.
In summary, an individualís condition never determines the amount an individual receives for their monthly disability benefit. What determines an individualís monthly disability benefit amount is the disability program they are receiving their benefits from. An individualís earnings determine their Social Security disability benefit amount, whereas an individualís SSI disability benefit amount is determined by the Social Security Administration each year.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials