What Is SSDI?

People who have developed a condition that makes it impossible for them to work may be eligible to collect social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. These benefits are available to people who have worked in the past and are no longer able to. Understanding the difference between SSDI and supplemental security income (SSI) can help people who are unable to work decide which application they should complete to get the benefits that they need.

What is Social Security Disability?

Social security disability insurance (SSDI) is insurance coverage that is provided to people who have worked in the past. Individuals who suffer from a condition that makes it impossible for them to complete work tasks may be eligible for SSDI benefits. This coverage is intended to provide long-term benefits to people who have met minimum work history requirements.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires individuals to complete a detailed application in order to be considered for SSDI benefit payments. This application will cover all aspects of the condition in order to determine if complications of the disability render a person unable to work. The evaluation of an application will include the determination of whether a person could reasonably be required to look for a different job that could accommodate the disability.

Differences Between SSDI and SSI

There are two types of benefits that an individual may be eligible to receive if they cannot work. It is important to be aware that these two benefits are very different, and people who need to apply for financial assistance because of an inability to work should understand which type to apply for before filling out any paperwork.

– SSDI is a type of insurance that workers pay into through paycheck deductions. Since SSDI in considered to be insurance coverage that only applies to people who have paid for the insurance, SSDI benefits are only available to people who have work history. Eligibility requirements also dictate that people must work a certain number of years based on their age in order to be considered to be eligible.

Dependents of the individual who receives SSDI benefits may be eligible to collect benefits as well.

An applicant’s date of disability is key when it comes to applying for SSDI benefits. Individuals who are disabled are not eligible to collect benefits until five months after the date that their disability was diagnosed. However, this does not mean that disabled individuals cannot apply for benefits immediately after receiving a diagnosis. Applications take five or more months to be processed, so it is important to apply as soon as a disability diagnosis is received.

– SSI is an assistance program that is only available to low-income individuals. People who apply for SSI benefits must provide detailed information about their personal assets and household income. Assets are limited to $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple.

People who are eligible for SSI benefits are also eligible for Medicaid. Other assistance programs including food stamps may be available.

Applying for Benefits

Applying for SSDI or SSI benefits is a confusing process that can be particularly frustrating because of the financial burden placed on a person who cannot work. Understanding whether you may qualify for SSDI, SSI or both is not always an easy task. I have ten years of experience in social security cases and appeals, and am ready to fight for your benefits. Contact me today to get started on your case.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.