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 — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
When I Apply for Disability - Should I apply for social Security disability or SSI?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The disability evaluation process under social security tends to be fairly long. Even at the initial claim level (the application for disability), it can take as much as six months to receive a decision. And if a claim is denied, appeals may easily consume just as much time, if not more.
Currently, the first appeal, the request for reconsideration, will take three months on average and a request for hearing may take more than a year. Therefore, individuals who are unable to work, or find their ability to maintain a job seriously compromised by physical or mental health issues may wish to apply for disability as soon as possible.
Which Social Security disability program should you file for? Frankly, you can apply for Social Security disability or SSI disability; however have no choice as to the disability program you are eligible for. Social Security evaluates you for both Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI) and Social Security disability during your disability application interview.
Title 2 benefits: Social Security Disability
Social Security disability is based on an insured status earned through your work activity prior to becoming disabled. Earnings equal quarters of coverage that are in turn used to establish eligibility for Social Security disability. Each individual can earn a maximum of four quarters of coverage each year.
Social Security disability is essentially an insurance program whose premiums are paid through your payroll deductions. After you stop working and paying these premiums, you are generally insured for about five years.
If you have not earned enough to qualify for Social Security disability or you are no longer insured for Social Security disability, you may be able to apply and receive disability benefits through the SSI disability program. While the SSI disability program is not based on work activity or insured status, it has its own eligibility requirements.
Title 16 benefits: SSI Disability
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability is a need based disability program that relies on income and resource (asset) limits to determine who is potentially eligible to receive disability benefits. Social Security determines income and resource limits each year.
The SSI income limit usually changes periodically, however the SSI resource limit has remained the same for many years. This does not mean the resource limit could not change at some point in the future. Resources counted to toward the SSI resource limit include, but are not limited to, the following: vehicles, land, homes, bank accounts, 401K or other retirement accounts, burial plots, jewelry, cash, settlements, inheritance, etc.
Currently, an individual can have $2000.00 in resources excluding their most valuable vehicle and the home (and the land it sits on) they live in. All other vehicles, homes, and land count toward the resource limit.
Income can include unemployment benefits, long term or short term disability benefits, pensions, wages, workman’s compensation benefits, etc.
SSI monthly income limits are also variable due to family composition. For example, families with more children are allowed a higher amount of income prior to becoming ineligible for SSI benefits than individuals who live on their own.
You can choose not to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) even if you qualify for the program. SSI is a need based disability program, therefore Social Security is not going to force anyone to file. However, if you do want SSI disability benefits, you have to apply for any Social Security benefits you might be eligible to receive in order to offset the amount of money paid by the SSI program.
In a nutshell, you can apply for both Social Security disability and SSI disability, but an application does not mean you will meet the eligibility requirements of either program. You cannot really choose which disability program you file for other than refusing SSI disability. Your eligibility to both or either program will be determined by Social Security and SSI disability guidelines.
If you have enough earnings (from your work history) to be entitled to disability insured status, an application for social security disability may be taken. If you have not paid enough into the system to qualify for SSD, you may still be entitled to file for SSI disability. However, as SSI is a need-based program, this will depend on your income and resource levels.
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