Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Filing for Social Security Disability with Post Polio
How long does SSDI and SSI disability take to get?
Eligible for disability back pay benefits
Permanently disabled to collect social security disability
Winning SSDI and SSI disability, How to
Cases that win disability benefits

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria