The government has two programs that can provide monthly cash benefits for disabled people who cannot work: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program has its own rules, but some of the factors are the same in both plans.
An Altoona Physical Disabilities Lawyer at Berger and Green can help you navigate the complicated process of going after Social Security benefits for physical disabilities. You can call us today at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.
Government Benefits Programs for Physical Disabilities
People often confuse SSDI and SSI. The programs have similar names, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) runs both programs. If you get approved for one program, you do not automatically get benefits from the other one, according to the SSA Disability Benefits booklet.
Some people can qualify for both SSDI and SSI, but they require separate applications. Also, you must meet the eligibility requirements for each program independent of the other.
SSDI pays monthly cash benefits to people who cannot work because of a severe
Illness or injury. The applicant must have been disabled for at least one year, or the doctor expects the condition to last for at least a year. You must have worked long enough at jobs that paid into the Social Security system. SSDI has no asset limit.
SSI can make monthly cash payments to people who cannot work because of a severe medical condition. Like SSDI, SSI requires the disability to last (or be expected to last) for at least one year. SSI has both income and asset limits.
You do not have to sort out these two programs. An Altoona Physical Disabilities Lawyer at Berger and Green can handle eligible claims for disability benefits. You can call us today at (412) 661-1400 to get started.
For a free legal consultation with a physical disabilities lawyer serving Altoona, call 412-661-1400
The Eligibility Rules for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Claims
When you file an application for SSDI benefits, the SSA claim evaluator will look for these four things:
How Severe Your Medical Condition Is
The SSA uses an objective standard to determine if your illness or injury is significant enough to justify getting disability benefits. For example, you would not get SSDI for a broken finger. The SSA uses the Blue Book, also called the Listing of Impairments, to assess the severity of your medical condition.
The Blue Book contains detailed, technical information, like specific lab test results, for numerous medical conditions. If your medical records show that your status is at least as bad as the minimum required by the Blue Book, you will pass the medical severity test.
Whether Your Illness or Injury Prevents You from Working
You must be unable to perform any kind of work to support yourself. The SSA will check to see if you can do your current or any of your previous or related jobs.
They will also assess whether you could do another type of job with your existing education, work history, and job skills.
Whether You Make Too Much Money
SSDI is not a needs-based program, but the SSA will look at how much money you can earn from working to decide whether you are disabled. The SSA uses a yardstick called “Substantial Gainful Activity” (SGA) to measure your need for help from the government. If you can earn more than the SGA limit through work, the SSA will declare that you are not disabled.
The SGA for the year 2020 is $1,260 a month for non-blind people and $2,110 a month for statutorily blind individuals. Income you receive from things other than working, like interest and dividends, do not count toward the SGA threshold.
If You Accumulated Enough Work Credits
The SSDI is an insurance program that workers and their employers pay for out of the Social Security taxes that get deducted from paychecks. If you did not work at jobs that paid into the program, you are not eligible for SSDI benefits.
You earn one work credit for every three-month period you work at a job that pays into Social Security. Older workers need the full amount of work credits. Younger workers usually do not need as many work credits as older employees because they have not had as much time to amass the credits.
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How SSI Eligibility Is Different from SSDI
You must pass the same medical severity test for SSI eligibility as you would for SSDI benefits. Also, your impairment must be the reason you cannot work to support yourself. Those factors are the same for SSI and SSDI. Here are some ways that SSI is different from SSDI:
- You do not need any work credits to qualify for SSI benefits. The SSI program gets its funding from the government’s general revenues, not from Social Security payroll tax deductions.
- SSI has a much lower income limit. First, then SSA will calculate the total amount of your countable income. Then, they will subtract your countable earnings from the amount of your SSI monthly benefit. Your monthly check could be zero even if you earn less than the SGA amount.
- SSDI does not limit the amount of assets you can own. You could have a million dollars in the bank and still get SSDI. SSI, however, limits the total value of the countable things you own to $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. The SSA does not count several things, like the house you live in, your vehicle, and some household items and personal effects.
- SSI pays less than SSDI. Many people who receive SSI get only a few hundred dollars a month. SSDI recipients can get well over $1,000 a month.
You do not have to learn all of these regulations. Working with an attorney may make the process less frustrating.
How to Get Help for Your Altoona Physical Disabilities Benefits Claim
An Altoona Physical Disabilities Lawyer at Berger and Green can help you pursue government benefits for your physical disabilities. You can call us at (412) 661-1400 today to find out how we can help you.