Supplemental Security Income & Social Security Disability Insurance
SSI is short for Supplemental Security Income. It pays monthly cash benefits to people who are age 65 or older, those who are blind, or those who have a disability and who do not own much or have a lot of income. SSI is not just for adults. Monthly benefits can go to disabled and blind children, too.
The amount of cash benefits you can receive depends on the state in which you live. The basic SSI amount is the same nationwide. However, many states add money to the basic benefit. Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to find out the benefit amount for your state.
For additional information about Social Security Disability Insurance, please visit www.ssa.gov or call the Social Security Administration toll free at 1-800-772-1213.
Qualifying for SSI benefits
To qualify for SSI benefits, you have to meet a variety of eligibility requirements, including an income and resource test. The amount of income you can have each month and still get SSI depends partly on where you live. Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to find out the income limits in your state. Social Security does not count all of your income when they decide if you can get SSI. For example, SSA does not count:
- The first $20 of most income received in a month
- The first $65 a month you earn from working and half the amount over $65
- Food stamps
- Shelter you get from private nonprofit organizations and
- Most home energy assistance
If you are a student, some of the wages or scholarships you receive may not count.
If you are disabled but work, Social Security does not count any wages you use to pay for items or services you need to work because of your disability. For example, if you need a wheelchair, the wages you use to pay for the wheelchair will not count as income.
Also, Social Security does not count any wages a blind person uses to pay expenses that are caused by working. For example, if a blind person uses wages to pay for transportation to and from work, the transportation cost is not counted as income.
Additionally, if you get SSI, you may also be able to get other help from your state or county. For example, you may be able to get Medicaid, food stamps or some other social services. For information about all the services available in your community, call your local social services department or public welfare office.
SSDI is short for Social Security Disability Insurance. In general, SSDI pays monthly cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. After a 24-month waiting period, SSDI eligibility allows you to receive Medicare benefits even if you are under age 65.
Qualifying for SSDI
To qualify for benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. You must also have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration's (SSA) definition of disability. In addition to meeting the definition of disability established by SSA, you must have worked long enough -- and recently enough -- under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits. Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.
The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. For more information please go to http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10029.html or call the Social Security Administration toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
How the Social Security Administration determines if you are disabled
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
Disability under Social Security is based on your inability to work. SSA considers you disabled under Social Security rules if you cannot do work that you did previously and you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s). Your disability must also last or be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers' compensation, insurance, savings and investments.
To decide whether you are disabled, SSA uses a step-by-step process involving five questions. They are:
1. Are you working?
If you are currently working and your average earnings are more than the minimums established by SSA, you generally cannot be considered disabled. Check with SSA to determine their income standards.
2. Is your condition "severe?"
Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered. If it does not, SSA will not consider you disabled. If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, SSA goes to Step 3.
3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
For each of the major body systems, SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, SSA has to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, they will find that you are disabled. If it is not, they then go to Step 4.
4. Can you do the work you did previously?
If your condition is severe but not at the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then SSA must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, the SSA proceeds to Step 5.
5. Can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot do the work you did in the past, SSA looks to see if you are able to adjust to other work. They consider your medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.
Check out our parent mentor volunteer program full of parents just like you!
Become a Red Strider! Know someone with diabetes? Walk for them!
Every dollar you give can be doubled until May 15th to help Stop Diabetes!
Scroll through our calendar of EXPOs to find out when there will be one near you.
Ditch the chips! We've got recipes for eight healthy snacks you'll love to eat.
Learn what BIG discounts on auto insurance may await you.
Get motivated with our newly revised “I Hate to Exercise” book
Subscribe to our blog! It’s the best way to see what we’re up to at the Association.
If you have diabetes, join us for the ride!
Order your Diabetes Forecast® today! 25 Tips to healthy living. Click here to start.
Check out our site full of vegetarian meal planning ideas!
Find your local office to get involved in your community.
A new tool to increase the convenience of portion management
Get recipes, tips and more! Join the conversation!
Learn more about Dribble to Stop Diabetes