Are you an Indiana resident that suffers from a disabling condition or a combination of disabling conditions causing you to be unable to work? Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer, Scott D. Lewis, represents disabled individuals with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. Often times, disabled individuals are unaware that the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two different disability benefits programs to disabled individuals unable to work due to their disabling condition. Although the medical requirements are the same for both of these SSA programs, there is a difference between the non-medical requirements to determine eligibility. Many individuals are confused by determining whether they should apply for SSDI or SSI benefits. Attorney Scott Lewis advises all of his disability clients to apply for both programs, just in case they may qualify for one, but not the other.
So, what is the difference between the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and are there any other programs that I should be aware of?
There are two different federally funded disability programs offered by the SSA. These two programs are Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. First, let's discuss the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Many people refer to the Social Security Disability Insurance program as the following:
- SSD or Social Security Disability
- Title II
From this point forward, the above program will be referred to as SSDI. To be eligible for SSDI benefits the disabled individual must be "insured". What does this mean? To be insured, the disabled individual must have worked for a period of time long enough to have paid Social Security taxes to have earned work credits. If a disability applicant is awarded SSDI payments, the amount of benefits will be determined based on how much the applicant paid into the system. In addition, the date that you are found to meet the definition of disability under Social Security rules must be before your date of last insured. The date of last insured is usually five years from when the individual with a consistent work history stopped working. In summary, there is both a duration work requirement and a recent work requirement to determine if you are eligible for SSDI. SSDI benefits may be paid to the disabled person and to minor children. Those who win their Social Security disability benefits through the SSDI program may be entitled to Medicare in two years and six months from the date of onset. The onset date is the date the individual is found to meet the definition of disability.
Adults suffering from a disabling condition that occurred prior to the age of 22 and continues to be disabled may also qualify for SSDI benefits. This is known as Childhood Disability Benefits or Disabled Adult Child Benefits and are under Title II. These individuals must also have a parent who is on Social Security disability or retired and collecting Social Security benefits, or a parent must have died and the parent was fully insured when they died. What this all means is that the adult child, if they meet the formerly mentioned criteria, is entitled to benefits based on the parent's work record. Because these are Title II benefits, the adult child (who is disabled) is also entitled to Medicare.
Additionally, disabled widow's benefits are also available under the SSDI program. A disabled widow can get benefits based on the deceased spouse's earnings record, but you must be 50 years or older and the onset of your disability must have been within seven years of your spouse's death.
The second program offered by the SSA is the Supplemental Security Income benefits program. Supplemental Security income is commonly known as SSI or Title XVI benefits. From this point forward we will refer to this program as SSI. To qualify for SSI, disabled adults must have limited income and resources. What does Social Security mean by limited income? The SSA may consider the following things "income":
- money earned from work
- money received from other sources like unemployment benefits, friends or family
- VA or Social Security benefits
- workers compensation benefits
- free food and shelter
What is "limited resources"? Resources can be anything such as cash, land, vehicles, personal property, life insurance, bank accounts, stocks, US Savings Bonds, and anything else that can be converted to cash and used for food and shelter. The SSA has limits on countable resources. Those who qualify for SSI will usually qualify for Medicaid, as well. These benefits are paid out of the general tax revenues and not the Social Security tax revenues.
The SSI program also offers benefits to children under the age of 18, or under 22 and regularly attending school, and are disabled living in a household with limited income and resources. Social Security will look at the amount income and resources of the parents living with the child to determine if the child is eligible for these benefits. The best way to find out if your child is eligible for SSI benefits is to contact SSA.
The SSA determines disability for the two programs exactly the same, by using a five step process. Although, determining child disability varies from this process for children under the age of 18.
If you are disabled, you may qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. If you are unsure of which program that you qualify, call Indiana disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis for a free consultation regarding your disability claim. His law office is eager to assist you with your claim, call (317) 423-8888 for your free consultation today!