Insured Status is What Makes SSDI and SSI Different From Each Other

Social Security Disability is based upon your earnings record and on your insured status. How do you obtain insured status so that you can potentially receive Social Security Disability benefits? Depending on your earnings for any given year, you may earn up four quarters of coverage. Social Security uses the total quarters of coverage you have earned to establish whether or not you are insured for Social Security Disability.

Social Security requires more quarters of coverage to establish insured status for older individuals than younger individuals (this makes sense because, otherwise, a person who becomes disabled in their early twenties could never hope to receive disability benefits even if they have a condition that keeps them from working the rest of their adult life). However, for anyone, at least six quarters of coverage are required for insured status.

SSI, on the other hand, does not require a person to have insured status. This is because this program is based on need. But since it is a need-based program it has requirements for assets and income. Translation: even if you are disabled and meet the social security administration definition of disability, your assets and countable income could still make you ineligible to receive SSI disability benefits.

Additionally, SSI is the only program available to children under the age of 18.

Although each Social Security Disability program has its own rules and regulations, the process of establishing entitlement to disability is the same. You must file a disability application with the Social Security Administration, and during this disability interview you must provide Social Security with information about your medical history and work history.

It goes without saying that it is very important to have medical records to establish the severity of your medical and/or mental conditions.

Generally, Social Security has a twelve-month period of review for medical histories. Newer medical records are important because the social security administration must have current records before a claim can be approved (the reasoning is that disability cannot be granted unless it is clearcut that the person is disabled as of the time that their disability application is approved). Older medical records, however, are equally important because they will establish just how long a person has had their disability and this will have an immediate impact on how much back pay they may receive.

Individuals with established medical histories have a better chance of receiving a medical allowance from Social Security, therefore it is important to provide Social Security with as much medical information as you are able to provide during your disability interview and provide SSA with any new medical treatment sources that you go to during the time your disability claim is being processed.

Additional information at:

Qualifying for disability is based on the information derived from a claimant's medical records

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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