SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
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?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
What If I Do Not Have Enough Work Credits For Social Security Disability Benefits?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If an individual is applying for Social Security disability, they have to be insured for the program. Insured status for Social Security disability is earned through work activity prior to becoming disabled. Each year, an individual has the potential of earning four work credits, or quarters of coverage, toward insured status.
Social Security guidelines state that an individual must be both "fully insured" and "disability insured" to be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Fully insured status simply requires that an individual have one quarter of coverage (i.e. a work credit) for each year from their twenty-first year until the time they become disabled. Disability insured requires that an individual have earned work credits or quarters of coverage for twenty quarters of the last forty possible quarters.
Basically, an individual must have worked five out of the last ten years. There are special rules that require fewer quarters or work credits to meet disability insured status to help younger disabled workers who are 31 years old or younger toqualify to receive disability benefits.
If an individual cannot meet both the fully insured and disability insured requirements, are there any other Social Security benefits they can file for? Fortunately, there is another disability program administered by Social Security that offers disability benefits for those who do not have enough work credits for Social Security disability benefits. This program is supplemental security income disability (SSI), and it is based upon need rather than insured status or work credits.
However, like other social need-based programs, SSI does have income and resource limits that determine if an individual is eligible for the program. Currently, the resource limit for individuals is two thousand dollars and for couples it is three thousand dollars. Resource limits exclude the highest valued vehicle that an individual or couple owns and the house/land they live on. Other resources (i.e. land, vehicles, bank accounts, etc.) are counted toward the SSI resource limit.
Resource limits have remained the same for many years, but they are subject to change at anytime. For the most, part SSI resource limits are fairly black and white; income limits are more subjective because they are affected by an individual or couple's household composition. For more information about resource and income limits for this need-based program, individual wishing to file for disability should check with their local Social Security office.
If an individual meets the income and resource limits of the SSI disability program, they may be eligible for disability benefits even if they have no work credits.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page