The United States Federal government administers two Social Security Disability benefits programs. Social Security Disability claimants must meet specific criteria to qualify for each program.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Claimants who have worked and paid sufficient Social Security taxes may be “insured” and covered by Social Security Disability Insurance. Claimants will earn “work credits” for work and must generally have 40 work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Younger claimants may need fewer credits. Claimants must also:
- Be a worker, the surviving divorced spouse, a worker’s widow or widower or the worker’s child with disabilities. Childhood disability beneficiaries must be unmarried, age 18 or over and must have been determined disabled prior to 22.
- Complete a Social Security Disability application.
- Be determined either mentally or physically disabled by the Social Security Administration.
- Not be working or performing any type of work at a substantial level.
Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Disability claimants who have not worked and do not have sufficient work credits to be considered insured can not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, they may, however, be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income or SSI. SSI was created to help claimants who have limited income and resources. To meet the eligibility requirements for Supplemental Security Income a claimant must:
- Have resources and income which are below the federally mandated amount.
- Be considered a United State’s citizen or meet the non-citizen requirements.
- Be determined disabled or blind by the Social Security Administration.
- Complete a Supplemental Security Income application and submit it to the Social Security Administration.
- Be a resident of the 50 States, District of Columbia, or Northern Mariana Islands.
- Not be performing substantial gainful activity. The SGA amount varies depending on a claimant’s disability status. Blind individuals are allowed to make higher earnings than a non-blind claimant.
If you have questions regarding your Social Security Disability eligibility, contact the Social Security Administration or visit their website at www.ssa.gov. The Social Security Administration has a useful website that can answer most of your Social Security Disability questions. Social Security Disability claimants who have stopped working due to a physical or mental health conditions may be considered disabled if their physical or mental health condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in their death. Social Security Disability claimants may also contact a Social Security Disability lawyer for more information. Disability lawyers specialize in winning Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits for their clients everyday.