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Social Security Disability & SSI Eligibility

91ddd6_ac763da8711340bea0c923e267b1ee47.jpgSocial Security has two programs for those who are disabled: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Broadly speaking, SSDI is a program for individuals with an established work history, meaning that they must have worked at least 5 years in the last 10 to meet the program's non-medical requirements. SSDI is considered an 'insurance' program, which means that certain rules (like citizenship or residency requirements) are more lax. Conversely, SSI is a program for individuals with little or no work history. To meet the non-medical requirements for SSI, you need to fall below the income and asset limits set by SSA. Since SSI is considered a 'welfare' program, the rules in areas like citizenship or residency requirements are more strict.

However, the medical requirements for both programs are exactly the same. If you are medically approved (but not yet non-medically approved), that means that you meet the medical requirements for both programs. There is one exception to this rule. If you are medically approved but SSA determines that your disability began after your DLI (the last date before which you worked 5 years in the last 10), then you will meet the medical requirements for SSI but not for SSDI. To meet the medical requirements for either program, you must have physical or mental health problems (or a combination of both) severe enough to keep you from working. SSA's 'test' for disability isn't whether you have been unable to get a job lately, or whether you are unable to return to your old job. Rather, the test is whether you are incapable of doing your past job and any other jobs you may be qualified for.

Using an extensive set of regulations, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will take into account your medical condition(s), remaining ability to work, age, education, and work experience while deciding your case. For example, at ages 55 and 60, SSA's regulations make it easier to prove your case due to what are referred to as the 'GRID' rules.

If you'd like an free consultation on your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits or SSI, please call our office so that we can discuss your claim in greater detail.

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