How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Are SSI Disability Claims Handled Differently Than Social Security Disability Claims?

SSI disability and Social Security Disability claims are handled differently with regard to non-disability eligibility requirements. For example, SSI disability is a need-based disability program that requires a person to meet income and resource limits.

Social Security claims representatives evaluate income and resources during the disability interview. If the disability claimant meets the SSI income and resource limits, their disability claim is sent to a state disability agency (DDS, or disability determination services) for a medical disability determination.

If their claim is then approved for disability based on a review of their medical records and work history (which would take into account the duties of their past jobs and their work skills in order to determine if they can still employ those skills in some type of work activity), they will have what is known as an "end line interview". The end line interview is performed to make sure the claimant still meets the income and resource limits for the SSI program.

SSD, or Social Security Disability, applicants, on the other hand, are not subject to the same conditions. They must, however, be insured to be eligible for disability benefits. Insured status is earned through work activity prior to the onset of disability -- i.e. when an individual became unable to perform gainful employment (SGA, or substantial gainful activity) because of their disabling condition.

If the applicant has performed enough work activity to be insured for Social Security Disability, their claim will be sent for a disability medical determination.

The medical determination process is the same for both SSI and Social Security Disability claims. Disability applicants for both programs must file an application for disability either by phone or in person at their local Social Security office (currently the online disability application process is only available for SSD, or Social Security Disability, applications, NOT FOR SSI CLAIMS).

During the disability application interview, disability applicants provide information about their medical sources, medication, testing, and work history. Once the disability interview is completed and all necessary forms are signed, the disability claim is sent to the state disability claim processing agency (DDS) for a medical decision. This is where it is assigned to a disability examiner.

The examiner will request medical information provided by the applicant during their disability interview. If the disability examiner determines there is no medical information to gather (meaning a person has not been treated for a condition at all by a qualified medical provider) or there is no current medical information (meaning medical records that are no older than ninety days), the examiner may schedule a CE, or consultative examination.

Note: A CE is a social security medical exam that is performed by a doctor in private practice--this doctor can even be the claimant's own doctor if that doctor agrees to do the CE.

Social Security must have current medical information to make their disability determination. When current information cannot be obtained from the claimant's medical records, consultative examinations are used to provide a current status of an individual’s mental or physical impairment. Once the medical records and/or the consultative examination report are in-file, the examiner can make a disability determination (i.e. a decision).

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

If I am waiting for a Disability Hearing, how often should I see my doctor?
Can you get disability for Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia?
SSDI Request for Reconsideration
Social Security Award Letter and being due a substantial back pay amount
What are the requirements and criteria for Social Security Disability?
If your disability claim is approved or denied
Social Security Award letter for SSD, SSI
How Much Income Can you Earn If you draw Social Security Disability?
Tips for SSD and SSI disability hearings
What to do if you get a letter about your disability claim or appeal?
How many disability applications are approved?
If you apply for disability in Florida
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Florida?
Permanent Social Security Disability in Florida

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.