Social Security disability benefits are monthly payments that financially support those who have become disabled and are no longer able to work. There are two Social Security programs that are offered through the Social Security Administration: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
While both SSDI and SSI help those who are disabled, they’re different programs with different qualifying requirements and funding sources. SSDI is a safety net program funded by workers’ tax money. A certain percentage of each paycheck is taken out to fund the SSDI program. You can apply for SSDI benefits if you have a qualifying disability and if you’ve been paying into the SSDI program for a long enough time to qualify.
In contrast, SSI is an income supplement program that’s funded by general tax revenues rather than Social Security taxes. This program helps disabled people who have little to no income and need help getting basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. You don’t need to have worked to qualify for SSI.
To qualify for SSDI, you need to meet some basic requirements.
You’ve earned a sufficient number of work credits
Work credits are the points you accumulate when you pay Social Security taxes. For every $1,320 in wages or self-employment income you pay, you earn one work credit. In a single year, you can earn four work credits. The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI depends on your age when you become disabled. You may qualify for SSDI if you’ve earned a total of 40 work credits or more and have earned 20 work credits in the 10 years prior to becoming disabled.
You can’t be engaged in gainful activity
As of 2018, you can’t qualify for SSDI if you’re earning at least $1,180 per month from working or $1,970 per month if you’re blind. Earning more than this amount is considered substantial gainful activity (SGA).
You must meet the definition of disabled
You can qualify for SSDI whether your disability was caused by an accident, illness, or any other cause. However, you must meet the SSA’s narrow and specific definition of disability to qualify for SSDI benefits.
You must be unable to do any job you’re qualified for
If you’re applying for SSDI benefits, it’s because you have a long-term or permanent disability that prevents you from working. You must not only be unable to do the job you were doing prior to becoming disabled but also any other job for which you’re qualified.
Hiring an SSD attorney to represent you during your application process for SSDI benefits can improve your chances of getting a successful claim. To learn more about SSDI benefits and whether you may qualify, contact Ally Disability for a free consultation today.