social security disability insurance benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits & Supplemental Security Income

Social security disability insurance benefits & supplemental security income help Americans provide for themselves and their families if they can no longer work. I will tell you how these programs work when you might be entitled to receive benefits, and some important things to consider before applying for either.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are systematically provided to workers who become incapacitated through illness or an injury and are unable to work at a job they were previously able to perform. 

In some cases, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if you have limited income and resources, are elderly, blind, or handicapped, and meet certain other requirements.

SSDI was created in 1956 and provides benefits to disabled workers who have paid into the system and cannot work in any job they are trained to do. You can apply for SSDI if you have a “disability” approved by the Social Security Administration.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)

Whether you are eligible for benefits depends on your age, health, number of insured earnings, and a number of other factors. There are three ways an individual may qualify for SSDI benefits.

You may qualify for benefits if you have a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. Your disability must also prevent you from doing any type of substantial work. 

An individual may also qualify for this program if they have a condition that has lasted or is expected to last one year, combined with a history of substantial earnings. The claimant’s impairment must be disabling enough to prevent them from performing any kind of substantially gainful employment.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI has two programs, one for adults and one for children (up to age 18).

1. Children

Children who are under age 18 and have been in foster care for at least six months and have a parent who is disabled or blind and has a monthly income of less than $2,000 are eligible for benefits. Recipients must also meet other requirements.

For example, they cannot spend over half their time in a day at school or on work-related activities. They must attend school on the days they are scheduled to be there. If they are not attending school, they must participate in other activities like job training, behavioral therapy, or vocational rehabilitation. 

2. Adults

There are two ways an individual could qualify for benefits. They could be unable to work and have $2,000 in monthly earnings. Or they could have limited self-employment income and a net worth of less than $2,000.

The older the individual is, the higher the amount of money they must earn. If they are under age 18, they must have at least $1,000 in monthly earnings.

Additionally, they cannot have any assets of more than $2,400, and if pregnant or a parent of a child under age six, their assets cannot be more than $3,000. In addition to meeting other requirements, it is important to note that benefits are “non-taxable.” 

Disability Claims Process

Benefits payable include medical benefits and some non-medical benefits. Medical benefits include inpatient care, outpatient care, and prescription medication. Certain types of treatment, such as hospitalization or surgical procedures, are not reimbursable under the program.

All claims are carefully reviewed by a team of medical and non-medical experts to determine whether an individual meets the medical and non-medical eligibility requirements for the program.

The disability determination process involves many steps and can take several months or even years to complete. The form is used to determine whether the person is “disabled” and is approved for benefits under the disability program.

If approved, an individual must then apply to a local scheduled area office for benefits. If approved, the individual will be issued a Social Security card by the Social Security Administration. 

Appealing Your Denied Claim

If you do not agree with the decision or think it is incorrect, you can file an appeal. In most cases, the process begins by filing a written request for reconsideration with the local SSA office. If the request is denied, you can ask that an administrative law judge review your claims.

The hearing will be held in your home area and will use legal rules similar to a regular court proceeding. Your hearing will be conducted by Social Security Administration representatives. 

If you are seeking benefits for a child, your child must come to the hearing and testify about the child’s claim for benefits. If your child does not testify, the judge is generally unlikely to grant benefits to your child based on their proof.

It is a good idea to contact a lawyer or someone who has experience preparing and presenting cases before administrative law judges at the hearing. The only way you can appeal an unfavorable decision by the judge is by filing a timely appeal called a Request for Appeal to the next level of administrative review.


Disability benefits are available to disabled workers, spouses, and children who meet certain eligibility requirements. Although disability benefits replaced the federally funded disability insurance program Social Security Disability Insurance in 2000, they’re largely based on the same criteria.

For example, anyone who has worked and paid Social Security taxes can get disability benefits if they cannot work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months.

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