Helping You Win Your Disability Claim
If you are disabled, unable to work and you meet certain income guidelines, you may be eligible for benefits through the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This federally-funded supplemental income program provides cash benefits to aged, blind and disabled people throughout the United States who have little or no income or assets.
Benefits are not awarded automatically, however and approximately 70% of claimants who apply are turned away. Klain & Associates can help increase your chances of winning cash payments to meet your basic needs.
Call Klain & Associates today for help with your claim. 800-818-HELP.
What’s the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are two programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help disabled people pay for food, clothing and shelter. Although both programs require applicants to provide sufficient medical evidence that demonstrates the severity of their disabilities and claimants must meet the SSA’s definition of disabled to obtain benefits from either program, there are several differences between SSI and SSDI.
How Your Income Impacts Your Disability Claim
Perhaps the most significant difference between SSI and SSDI is the way your income impacts your claim.
SSDI eligibility guidelines do not place a limit on unearned income or the assets you can have, but you must be unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) to qualify for benefits. If you are earning more than the SGA amount specified in federal regulations, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits. For 2019, the SGA limit for non-blind disabled adults is $1,220. Blind claimants, however, can earn up to $2,440 and still be eligible.
To determine eligibility for SSI benefits, the SSA will consider your income as well as your resources. This includes the amount of money you receive from earned income, pensions, food assistance programs, veteran’s benefits, alimony, free rent and even your spouse’s income. The federal benefit rate determines the income limit to qualify for SSI. For 2019, the SSI income limit is $771 for single people and $1,157 for couples. Because the SSA excludes over half of your income, however, your income can be as much as $1,625 if you’re single and you still qualify.
The value of your assets is also considered to determine eligibility for SSI. This includes real estate, cash, investments, life insurance, vehicles and virtually anything else you own that could be converted to money for food or shelter. For individuals and children, the SSI limit for resources is $2,000. For couples, it’s $3,000.
There are some resources the SSA does not count, however;
• The home in which you live
• Personal effects and household goods
• One vehicle
• Up to $1,500 in burial funds and life insurance cash values
• Retroactive disability benefits for up to nine months after they are received
• Money that has been set aside to pay for educational expenses
• Up to $100,000 in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account
HOW YOUR WORK AFFECTS YOUR CLAIM
To be eligible for SSDI, you must have worked and earned a sufficient number of work credits. The number of work credits required depends on your age when you became disabled. If you are under 30, you’ll need one work credit for every year since you left school. If you’re over 30, you’ll need to have worked approximately 5 out of the past 10 years. There is no work requirement to be eligible for SSI, however.
Getting Medicaid, Medicare and Other Assistance
If you qualify for SSI, you will most likely qualify for Medicaid right away and you can start receiving food assistance and other benefits programs that can help you take care of your basic needs. For most people who are awarded SSDI, however, there is a two-year waiting period before you are eligible for Medicare.
Disabled people of any age, including newborn babies, are eligible to receive SSI if they meet the requirements. To Receive SSDI, however, you must be at least 18 years of age and younger than 65. Also under SSDI, partial disability benefits, called auxiliary benefits may be available for certain family members.
Approval Rates for SSI and SSDI
Approval rates are slightly lower for SSI applicants than they are for those applying for SSDI. This is likely true for a number of reasons. First, SSDI applicants are more likely to have medical insurance so they typically see their health care providers more regularly. Second, claims examiners and judges usually give more credibility to people with a long work history.
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Navigating the rules, regulations and confusing terms when claiming Social Security Disability can be difficult. Our nationwide network of attorneys and advocates work with people at all levels of the SSI and SSDI claims processes. Let our team put your mind at ease and help you achieve success.