There are two primary types of disability benefits that may provide financial assistance to you if you are disabled and are unable to work. These Social Security disability programs include:
SSDI or "Disability"
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. This is the main disability program that many people think of when they hear the term "disability." SSDI covers people who become disabled and are unable to work. As of 2009, there were over 8.9 Million disabled Americans receiving SSDI benefits.
SSDI is primarily for people who have maintained employment over a certain number of years and have paid into the Social Security program. The general requirements to receive SSDI include that a person has a medical condition that renders him unable to work, and that the condition is likely to last at least twelve (12) months (or has already lasted 12 months).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI benefits are designed to aid people with low-incomes, who are unable to work due to a disability. The Social Security Administration has reported that 1 in 6 persons who received SSDI benefits, also received SSI benefits to supplement their income. SSI's purpose is to make sure the most basic living necessities are met. These necessities include shelter, food, and clothing.
Several categories of disabled persons may qualify for SSI. For example, a person who qualifies for SSDI and who also has no significant assets or income may qualify for SSI in addition to his SSDI benefits.
Also, even though a person may not have worked a sufficient amount of time during his life to qualify for SSDI, may still qualify for SSI. The requirements for SSI on this basis are very technical and complicated. Whether a person qualifies for SSI will depend on the unique facts of the case. For this reason, each individual disability/SSI case must be evaluated based on the individual facts and evidence.
Another category of citizens that may qualify for SSI are the parents of children who are disabled. In order to qualify for SSI, the child must not have income above a certain amount, and must suffer from some type of condition (physical, mental, or both), that severely limits the child's ability to function. Again, cases involving disabled children are complicated, and must be thoroughly investigated and evaluated in order to get the child on SSI.
The Social Security programs serve as a "safety net" for Americans who become disabled or have children who are disabled. These programs prevent the sick and disabled from falling through the cracks of the system and becoming homeless and destitute. DDSI and SSI reflect our conscience as Americans that we have a moral duty to help our fellow citizens when they fall upon hard times.
If you are disabled, or think you or your child may qualify for SSDI/disability or SSI benefits, please contact us today for a free consultation.