What makes you entitled to receive disability benefits under SSI or SSD?
Entitlement for disability benefits from SSA (social security administration) is a little different from whether or not a person medically qualifies to receive disability benefits.
In the case of Social Security Disability, entitlement begins with whether or not a person has paid into the system over the course of their working years sufficiently enough to become insured for title II (the actual program for Social Security Disability benefits).
If a person is insured for Social Security Disability coverage as a result of their work activity and the fica taxes they have paid into the system, then they may receive Social Security Disability benefits as long as the following applies:
A) They meet the definition of disability used by SSA (which essentially means that their condition must be severe enough that it makes it impossible for them to work and earn a substantial and gainful income for at least one full year).
B) They must not be engaged, at the time they are filing for disability benefits, in work activity that earns them what SSA considers to be a substantial and gainful income. SSA refers to this as SGA, or substantial gainful activity and it is the basically the earnings limit that a person must be under in order to receive disability benefits.
If a person who is filing a claim for disability is working and earning this amount or more, they cannot receive disability benefits even if their medical records show that they are otherwise medically disabled.
Being entitled for SSI disability benefits is identical to Social Security Disability in the sense that A) a claimant must meet the definition of disability and B) they cannot be working and earning more than the allowed limit.
It is very different in this one regard, however. SSI is not based on whether or not a person worked enough to become insured to receive disability benefits. In fact, the entire purpose of SSI (supplemental security income) is to provide benefits to individuals who have never worked, or have not worked enough to become insured for Social Security Disability, or who were once insured for SSD benefits but have lost their coverage because they have not worked in a long time.
As was stated, if a person files for SSI and is found disabled, they must not be working and earning more than the SGA limit. This is the same as for Social Security Disability.
However, SSI has another requirement which SSD does not have. With SSI, there is a limit on the amount of assets that a person can have. Assets are a consideration because SSI is a need-based program. Countable assets for SSI include money in bank accounts, real property other than one's primary residence, and vehicles other than one's primary car. To receive SSI, a person must not have more than two thousand dollars in countable assets.
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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