Application And Eligibility

Jeffersonville, Indiana disability lawyers explain the different eligibility requirements for SSI and SSDI

If you are unable to work because of a physical or mental condition, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. The Jeffersonville disability lawyers can evaluate your situation and determine whether you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or, possibly, both.

Basic prerequisite for both SSI and SSDI: You must be "disabled"

As a preliminary matter, in order to qualify for either SSI or SSDI benefits, you must establish that you are "disabled," as that term is defined by the Social Security Administration. In general, you are "disabled" if you have a severe, medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents you from doing your past work and any other type of work. To learn more about how the Social Security Administration determines disability, see The Disability Evaluation Process in our library below.

SSI eligibility requirements

SSI is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled individuals who meet the program's income and resource requirements, regardless of work history.

The income requirement is based on the monthly maximum SSI payment, as established each year by the government (e.g., in 2012, that amount is $698 for individuals and $1,048 for couples). If your monthly countable income is over the monthly maximum, then you are not eligible to receive SSI benefits. The resource requirement is a means of valuing your assets (i.e., cash and items you own that you can turn into cash). The resource limit is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. If your countable resources are worth more than this limited amount, then you are not eligible to receive SSI benefits. Several of your resources, however, will not be "countable," including, for example, the house you live in, life insurance policies, and property you use in your business.

SSDI eligibility requirements

The federal Social Security Disability Insurance program is similar in concept to private disability insurance. The Social Security taxes that are deducted from your paycheck are analogous to the premiums you would pay on a private disability insurance policy. In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have worked (i.e., paid Social Security taxes) long enough and recently enough to have "insured" status at the time you become disabled. The Social Security Administration will determine how many "quarters of coverage" or work credits you have accumulated. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year worked, beginning at age 21. The number of work credits needed to qualify for SSDI varies, depending on the age at which you became disabled.

The Jeffersonville, Indiana disability lawyers can help you make sense of the eligibility rules

As you can see from this brief overview, the eligibility rules for SSDI and SSI benefits are complicated. The Jeffersonville disability lawyers can help you make sense of it all. If you would like us to review your case, please contact us by phone or email, or by submitting the Free Claim Evaluation form on this page. If you have questions about other Social Security disability benefits programs - including benefits for disabled children and widows'/widowers' benefits - we have the knowledge and experience to help in these cases also.