For individuals who are disabled and unable to work, there are two types of benefits that might be available through the Social Security Administration. For both of these benefits, however, it is necessary to prove that you qualify as a disabled individual under the Social Security rules and regulations.
Qualifying for these benefits involves an analysis which takes into consideration the actual impairments, as well as someone’s age, education, and past work experience. It is not simply a question of having a diagnosis, but rather how severe that impairment is and how it affects an individual’s ability to perform basic work activities.
To receive any disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, it is required that the individual have a life-threatening impairment or an impairment which is expected to last for at least twelve months and which effectively renders that person incapable of performing any competitive full-time employment.
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
If an individual has worked and paid into the Social Security Administration for at least ten years in their lifetime, and for at least five out of the last ten years, he or she is potentially eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are essentially an individual’s retirement benefits that he or she may be able to receive early, before reaching retirement age, because the individual is now incapable of working.
If someone has not worked and paid into SS for more than five years, that individual still might qualify for benefits if it is possible to establish that they became disabled prior to what is known as a “date last insured,” or DLI. If someone becomes disabled after their DLI, they would not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
Alternatively, individuals who have not worked and paid enough into the Social Security system recently enough might qualify for what is called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. SSI also requires that an individual establish that they are disabled and incapable of working under the Social Security rules and regulations. And again, not only is their disability an issue, but so is that person’s age, education, and work experience.
With SSI, there is no date last insured issue; however, there are earnings and asset issues which will be considered before anyone might qualify for SSI benefits. For example, if an individual has more than $2,000 in the bank or owns more than one vehicle or a rental property, they will not qualify for SSI. If an individual is married and has more than $3,000 in the bank or in liquid assets, or if their spouse makes too much money, they will similarly not qualify for SSI.
Thus, to qualify for Supplemental Security Income, you must not only be disabled, but it is also necessary that you qualify financially—regarding both assets and earnings—before you would be eligible to receive any SSI benefits.
Increasing Your Chances of Success
Regardless of the benefit type that you are attempting to obtain, it will be necessary to have substantial medical documentation of your impairments from doctors, clinics, therapists, hospitals, etc., in order to establish the severity of your disability and your limitations. The younger an individual is, generally speaking, the more medical evidence is required in order to establish a disabling impairment.
To see if you might qualify for either Social Security Disability Insurance or SSI, you should contact an experienced Social Security attorney. Only by talking to an experienced Social Security attorney can you be assured of the best possible chance of success on your disability claim, whether you are claiming Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or SSI.