SSI Requirements for disability benefits
If you file for disability in Kentucky or any other state (SSD and SSI are federal programs and the process is the same in all states with minor differences, usually concerning approval rates and wait times and backlogs), the process will involve you submitting a disability application and having a disability interview conducted.
The application can be done online, over the phone, or in person. It is generally to a person's advantage to do this in person because it allows for the chance to ask questions. The next preferred option would be over the phone.
After the claim is submitted to Social Security, it will be transferred to a disability examiner who will gather medical records from all the sources. After the records are received, they will be reviewed to see if you meet the requirements for SSI, or SSD if the claim was taken for Social Security Disability versus SSI disability.
What are the requirements for SSI or SSD? Your condition must be severe versus non-severe (a broken leg may be severe while a sprained wrist may not), must last at least one full year, and cause significant limitations in your ability to engage in normal daily activities. These limitations, which can be physical or mental, must be significant enough that you cannot go back to your former work.
For example, if your past work involved much bending at the waist and your back impairment reduces or eliminates that ability, you may be considered to be unable to do your past work.
If you cannot do your past work, the disability examiner will evaluate whether you can, based on your age, education, limitations, and skills, do some type of other work. If you cannot, you may be given a disability award.
Disability requirements for both SSD and SSI are mainly medical and vocational (regarding your work and work history) in nature. However, for both programs you cannot be working and earning more than a certain amount each month and be considered disabled. That amount is found here: SGA work activity and earnings.
Also, for SSI only, the requirements are that you cannot have more than a specific amount in assets, or resources. The asset limit is $2000 for an individual and $3000 if you are married. To see the list of countable SSI assets, What counts as an asset for SSI?
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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