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What are the Needed Criteria to Qualify for SSI/SSDI Benefits?

March 28, 2018 |

wheelchair - SSD Benefits SSDI BenefitsSocial Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI) are both federal programs created to provide for the needs of people with disabilities. They’re administered by the Social Security Administration. Each has its own specific purpose:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance – pays benefits to people who’ve paid enough Social Security taxes and who qualify as disabled.  It provides for those who’ve been diagnosed with either a mental or physical impairment that’s expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, and which leaves them unable to do a “substantial” amount of work, which is defined as making $1,180 per month or more before taxes.
  • Supplemental Security Income – Provides supplemental benefits to people whose income falls below a specific threshold. It’s meant for people who are blind, elderly or disabled, so they can afford shelter, food and clothing. It is not funded by Social Security taxes.

Decisions about qualifying for SSI/SSDI benefits are based on the severity of the applicant’s medical condition and whether they’ve paid into the system. The administration will examine the job or jobs you’ve had in the past to see whether your condition keeps you from being able to do them; if so, they will then move on to see whether there’s other work you might be able to do, keeping in mind the limitations of your illness as well as your level of education, skills and age.

The process of applying includes providing documentation of all your conditions, symptoms and diagnoses, as well as who has treated you and what treatments you’ve received. There’s a list of impairments that Social Security has assembled that includes specific criteria that must be included in your physician’s entries into your medical record.

Beyond medical information, the Social Security Administration will also check the payroll taxes you’ve previously paid into Social Security to see how long and how much you have paid. This determines whether you have coverage or not, and shifts based on how old you are and how long you’ve paid in. This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to pay these taxes.

If you’ve applied for these benefits and have been denied, you’re not alone. These applications have complex requirements. For assistance in making sure your application is complete, call our office today to set up an appointment.