Supplemental Security Income vs. Social Security Disability
Representing Injured Workers in New Jersey
For a number of individuals, hearing the terms Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) may be unfamiliar ground. This is understandable as not everybody needs these types of benefits. If you ever face the situation when you need either or both of these benefits, however, it is important to understand the differences between the two and what they mean for you. There are key differences between the programs and the qualifications and benefits for both.
Discuss the differences with an attorney in a free consultation by calling (732) 440-3089 today.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability
When someone applies for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will determine if the individual qualifies, taking a number of factors into consideration.
The Social Security Administration considers the following:
- Which program is appropriate? Various factors like the length of time worked or income and assets available determine whether an individual is eligible for Social Security Disability, Supplemental Income or both.
- Work History - The duration of work test is the general basis that the SSA uses to determine if an individual is eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance. This test requires that an individual have worked approximately five of the last ten years. Individuals who have never worked may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.
- Assets available- Supplemental Security Income is a “means-based” program, meaning the Social Security Administration will evaluate an individual’s financial resources to determine if an individual qualifies for SSI benefits.
- Evaluation of work activities – If you are applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, an individual must not be able to perform “substantial gainful activity” (work). This includes performing either your old job or not being able to adapt to a new job. For example, if you hurt your leg, but can still perform a job that allows you to sit during the day, your application may be denied.
- Medical condition – The Disability Determination Services office will determine if your disability is enough to keep you from performing work duties and if it warrants benefits.
The SSA takes a five-step process of questions to decide an individual’s disability. Are you working? Is the medical condition considered severe? Is the disability on the impairment list? Can you do the same work duties you did before the disability? Can you perform another type of work? These are questions that are used to determine whether a SSD benefits claim is denied or approved.
Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income is designed for individuals who are over the age of 65, blind, or disabled, and have low income and few resources. Your income is one of the deciding factors regarding your application for SSI benefits. This includes wages, Social Security Disability benefits, pensions, and assets such as shelter or food. Resources are the other factor. This includes bank accounts, real estate, stock, bonds, and cash. Individuals living in a rest home, halfway home, or in prison or jail may not qualify to receive SSI.
It is important to know that applications for either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income may be appealed if the initial application is denied. This is where a lawyer becomes critical to your case. At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our team of New Jersey attorneys is determined to help our clients get through this difficult time. We stand by your side through the initial application process as well as appeals if necessary.
Call our firm today at (732) 440-3089 to learn more about your benefits claim.