If you are considering applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, it is important to understand the difference between the types of benefits available. Two of the most common disability benefits offered are Social Security Disability ("SSD") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits.
To qualify for SSD, an individual must have worked enough in his or her lifetime. Whether someone qualifies for SSD depends upon whether they have enough work history credits which are acquired by paying into the Social Security system through work. In general, in order to have enough work history credits, an individual needs to have worked in five out of the ten years prior to becoming disabled. Social Security will be able to tell you how many work history credits you have earned.
The SSI program is a separate program from SSD. The major difference between SSD and SSI is that SSI does not require work history in order to qualify and it is only for individuals who have limited income and resources. When determining whether a person qualifies for SSI, Social Security will look at the total income, finances and resources of the person's household. In addition, if a person is married, Social Security will take the spouse's income into consideration. SSI is the only disability benefits program available for children under age 18.
Once it is determined if a person meets the criteria for SSD or SSI listed above, Social Security will then determine if a person meets the definition of disability under its rules. Social Security applies the same definition of disability for those applying for SSD and SSI. It is also important to note that a person must be unable to work for at least a year due to your disabilities in order to meet the disability criteria.
If you have questions about these programs, contact the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
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