Should I Apply For Ssdi Or Ssi
Social Security Disability Insurance is meant for disabled people who are insured, which means that you have worked long enough and have paid Social Security taxes. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration states that you must have earned 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the last five years. However, younger workers can qualify with fewer credits. Usually, if you are working full-time, you can earn up to four credits per year. Thus, you must have worked at least five of the last ten years in some kind of full-time work, unless you are under age 31.
Supplemental Security Income offers benefits based on financial need and does not have any employment requirements. SSI benefits are paid not only to disabled people who do not have much income, but also to blind and disabled children. To qualify for SSI benefits, you must meet the criteria outlined by the Social Security Administration . The amount you receive for SSI is determined by Social Security, but the income requirements depend on the state in which you currently reside.
Adults With A Disability That Began Before Age 22
An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if their parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The Disabled Adult Child who may be an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a qualified disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.
It is not necessary that the DAC ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.
- A DAC must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider substantial increases each year. In 2022, this means working and earning more than $1,350 a month.
Lack Of Medical Diagnosis
You cannot receive disability benefits without some sort of medical record documenting your condition. It is best to have a concrete diagnosis before you apply for disability. A general “I just don’t feel well” or “my lower back hurts all the time” will not get you very far. If you really are feeling so sick that you cannot keep working, you should be seeking medical treatment anyway, because there may be a treatment that would allow you to keep working.
Some conditions are much harder to diagnose than others. Multiple sclerosis and lupus are two perfect examples. You could have doctors arguing about whether or not you have MS for years. In those cases, it can be difficult to get disability benefits, but at least you still have medical records that document your symptoms and show any testing and treatments that you’ve tried. Once you realize that you are not improving and cannot see going back to work in the next several months, it is a good idea to apply for disability benefits even without a diagnosis.
Recommended Reading: Department Of Developmental Disabilities Ohio
What Do I Get For My Efforts
So, with all the struggle it took to reach this point of consideration, and with all the hurdles youll need to jump and the stresses youll need to wade through, what are you going to get if you finally are declared eligible for benefits?
Well, both SSI and SSDI provide two basic supports: monthly income and guaranteed health insurance.
If you are eligible for SSI, youll get a monthly check. The precise base value will vary by state .
If you work, they will deduct some money from the payments .
There is a ceiling to how much you can earn and still get benefits.
You also will be eligible for Medicaid coverage.
Generally, Medicaid covers all or most of your covered medical costs , though they often provide somewhat limited options for care.
This means youll also have your heating and energy bills discounted and get a monthly stipend toward your food expenses.
Also, you may be categorically eligible for other low-income services such as reduced-fare transportation tickets.
Overall, being on SSI guarantees you a small but reliable income, health insurance, and easy access to most low-income supports.
Your very basic needs will mostly be met, which is much better than the alternative.
If you are eligible for SSDI, youll also get a monthly check.
The amount will vary based primarily upon your recent work history.
Most people have less than $2,000/month coming in.
Health Coverage For People With Disabilities
If you have a disability, you have three options for health coverage through the government.
Medicaid provides free or low-cost medical benefits to people with disabilities. Learn about eligibility and how to apply.
Medicare provides medical health insurance to people under 65 with certain disabilities and any age with end-stage renal disease . Learn about eligibility, how to apply and coverage.
Affordable Care Act Marketplace offers options to people who have a disability, dont qualify for disability benefits, and need health coverage. Learn about the .
Read Also: Senior And Disability Services Albany Or
Is Social Security Taxable
It depends on your income. Youll be taxed on up to 50% of your benefits if your income is $25,000 to $34,000 for an individual, or $32,000 to $44,000 for married couples filing jointly, according to AARP. Up to 85% of your benefits are taxable if your income is more than $34,000 for an individual or $44,000 for a married couple.
Reasons Not To Apply For Social Security Disability
If you have a serious illness or disease and have trouble working, but aren’t sure if you would qualify for disability benefits, consider the following to be red flags:
- Your doctor doesn’t believe your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working.
- Your condition is expected to be temporary .
- You are able to earn over $1,350 per month in some fashion .
- You haven’t worked enough to be eligible for SSDI, but your family income or assets are too high for SSI.
If any of these apply to your situation, you may not have a good chance of being approved for disability benefits. For instance, it’s difficult to qualify for disability if you don’t have a supportive statement from your doctor that shows you have signs and symptoms of a severe impairment and serious functional limitations that prevent you from working. As to whether you are financially eligible for SSDI or SSI, you can contact Social Security for help determining this.
It’s worth it to do some homework first, because the downside to applying for SSDI or SSI and getting denied is that you can’t work while you’re waiting for a decisionâand it can take a year or two to get a final decision on your case. That’s a long time to be without income.
You May Like: Va Disability Rating For Lower Back Pain
Expect Possibly Longer Wait Times
In March 2020, the Social Security Administration mostly shuttered its in-person services.
Today, it is still largely processing correspondence online and via postal mail.
A recent investigation by the Social Security Office of the Inspector General found there have been some big delays for people waiting on application decisions.
Currently, it’s taking about 125 days for the agency to process an initial claim, Geist said. For applications that are reconsidered, there’s an additional four months to six months, he said.
So if you’re planning to file an application for benefits for any disabling condition, including Covid-19 and associated long haul issues, “the earlier, the better,” Geist said.
Some Publications That Will Give You More Information On Disability Benefits
The Disability Starter Kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application. Kits are available for adults and for children under age 18.
The starter kits provide information about the specific documents and the information that we will request from you.
The kits also provide general information about the disability programs and our decision-making process.
Here are some additional resources with information on disability benefits:
- Disability Evaluation Under Social Security – Medical criteria for evaluating Social Security disability claims
Benefits For Widows Or Widowers With Disabilities
If something happens to a worker, benefits may be payable to their widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability if the following conditions are met:
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse is between ages 50 and 60.
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse has a medical condition that meets our definition of disability for adults and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death.
Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. If they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.
What We Mean By Disability
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
We consider you to have a qualifying disability under Social Security rules if all the following are true:
- You cannot do work and engage in substantial gainful activity because of your medical condition.
- You cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
- Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings, and investments.
You May Like: 100 Disabled Veteran Dental Benefits For Family
How Long Should I Wait To Apply For Disability
Dont wait. For most people, it is best to apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. The Social Security Administration manages the Social Security Disability Insurance program. When processing your claim, they will consider the date of your application to be your Alleged Onset Date. If you are due retroactive SSDI benefits, the SSA will calculate those benefits from your Alleged Onset Date. If you wait to apply, you may lose out on benefits.
Who Qualifies For Ssdi
- People who have worked for a number of years and had enough money taken out of their paychecks for Social Security
- Self-employed people who paid self-employment taxes
- You must meet Social Securitys very strict definition of disability to qualify for SSDI.
- Having a low income or financial needs do not affect whether you can get SSDI.
If you get turned down for SSDI, reapply, and appeal if necessary. Many cases end up being approved after an appeal. The amount you get from SSDI will be based on how long you worked, and how much Social Security tax was taken from your pay. Once you apply for SSDI, the disability clock starts running.
If your disability application is approved, you will usually receive your first benefit payment six months after the date the Social Security Administration finds that your disability began. You will also become eligible for Medicare after you’ve received SSDI benefits for 2 years.
If you qualify and start getting SSDI, your spouse and any eligible children can also apply for SSDI. If you find you dont qualify for SSDI, but you are disabled and have limited income and resources, look into Supplemental Security Income . This program also can pay benefits to the disabled, but is based on your income and need.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible For Disability
Substantial gainful activity represents one of the most important factors in determining eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
This means you must earn less than the amount of SGA allowed each month by the Social Security Administration . For 2023, the SGA for non-blind Americans is $1,470, while blind Americans must earn less than $2,460 each month to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Another important factor that answers the question, Am I eligible for disability concerns your ability to work. One of the main goals of the SSA is to find disabled Americans work to help them achieve financial independence. Youll need to consult the SSAs Blue Book listing to determine what records and medical documentation are necessary in your application for SSD benefits.
However, some medical conditions such as cancer and lung disease often make it impossible for a worker to remain on the job.
If a disabling condition has forced you out of work, you have to provide the SSA with documentation that proves your assertion. To determine whether you can work your current job or any other job for that matter, the SSA might ask you to undergo a Residual Functional Capacity assessment.
An RFC assessment measures different mental and physical capabilities, such as how much weight you can carry around for a certain period.
The SSA refers to the results of an RFC assessment to determine whether an applicant for disability benefits can work in another occupation.
Be As Informed As Possible When Your Apply For Disability Benefits
Knowledge is power. That phrase rings exponentially true when you apply for disability income.
Applying for SSI or SSDI requires a lot of preparation and effort. Informing yourself on what to expect every step of the way will reduce your stress levels and help ensure you dont make any mistakes on your application.
Don’t Miss: How Long Is Long-term Disability
Serious Injury Or Illness
Sometimes it’s very clear when you need to apply for disability benefits. A car accident or other catastrophic event can change your life in an instant. If this happens to you and it’s immediately clear that you are not going to be in any condition to go back to work for at least a year, go ahead and apply for benefits. If you are diagnosed with a condition that will require treatment that will incapacitate you, such as advanced cancer treated with chemotherapy and radiation, it may also be a good idea to apply for benefits sooner rather than later.
How Can I Find Out More About Ssdi
- Visit www.ssa.gov online choose disability
- Visit ssabest.benefits.gov to learn about Social Security benefits you might be eligible for including SSDI
- Go to your nearest Social Security office
You can find out how much you would get from SSDI by looking at your Social Security statement. The statement shows your work history and an estimate of what your benefits would be at this time. To get a Social Security statement:
- Request a statement online through Social Securitys website at www.ssa.gov. Click on My Social Security on the left side of the page.
Note that SSDI is different from SSI .
SSI is for people who didnt pay enough into Social Security during their working years, or who havent worked recently enough to qualify for SSDI. However, some people who were employed for short times or whose income was very low may qualify for both SSDI and SSI because their SSDI payment is so low. In that case, the SSI payment is reduced by the amount of SSDI the person gets. See more information on Supplemental Security Income .
Also Check: How Many 100 Percent Disabled Veterans Are There
If You Get A Negative Disability Decision
If you get a negative disability decision, you can fill out a Marketplace application to apply for coverage. Youll find out if you qualify for a private health plan with premium tax credits and lower costs based on your household size and income. When you apply, youll also find out if you qualify for Medicaid coverage.
- When you fill out your Marketplace application, answer yes when asked if you have a disability. Well forward your application to your state Medicaid agency. If you qualify, theyll help you enroll.
- If you dont qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for savings on a Marketplace health plan.
You Experience Difficulty With Day
When the SSA evaluates your case, they will want to know how your medical condition affects your ability to handle the activities of daily living, or ADLs. ADLs include mobility, personal hygiene, dressing, cooking, cleaning, hobbies, social interactions, or other many personal needs.
If your medical condition prevents you from living a healthy, functioning lifestyle, you may be further eligible for disability benefits.
If you are looking to apply for SSDI, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your physician before applying so you can address your limitations and find out whether the doctor can assist you. If you wait to schedule an appointment after you apply for disability you may decrease your chances of being approved.
Do not expect that your physician will know all of your difficulties and limitations you experience. Doctors may be less knowledgeable of their patient weaknesses than the patients themselves. Even minor restrictions can be significant when the SSA is evaluating a claim.
Also Check: What Conditions Are Considered For Disability
How You Apply For Concurrent Benefits
Most claimants are not aware that there are two programs of disability with the Social Security Administration. So how can you be sure to apply for the right one or both? Whether you apply for SSI, SSDI , or both, your local Social Security district office will evaluate your income and assets and determine whether your claim is concurrent. The category of your disability claim will not make a difference as to how the medical evaluation of the claim is processed. In other words, an SSI claim will be medically reviewed in exactly the same way as an SSDI claim. The same definition of disability and the same disability evaluation process is used for both programs of benefits.