Qualifications and Eligibility for SSDI Benefits & SSI

SSDI & SSI: For which disability benefit(s) should you apply?

SSDI benefits and SSI benefits are two disability benefit programs offered by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) are provided as benefits to individuals that qualify based on a disability that meets SSA statutes. But, which one should you apply for? Should you apply for both or are you not eligible for either SSDI or SSI?

The determination as to which disability benefits program you should apply for is a vital decision in the beginning of your case. With a free consultation, an attorney at Pyfer, Reese, Straub, Gray & Farhat, P.C. is available to assist you at any stage throughout the SSDI or SSI filing process.

Understanding SSDI:

SSDI is primarily based on your work earnings history. How much and when you have paid into the Social Security tax system during your lifetime determines whether or not you are eligible for SSDI benefits. A simple way to view whether you are eligible for SSDI benefits or not is to review your Annual Social Security Statement. This statement is available online through your mySocialSecurity account. An estimated calculation of your SSDI monthly benefit can also be viewed on this statement if you are eligible.

Even if you have worked during your lifetime, how old you are, how much you earned, and how recently you worked are factors that need to be assessed in ensuring you have enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Additional Ways To Become Eligible for SSDI

There are additional ways to become eligible for SSDI benefits, based upon another person’s wage earnings. If you are found disabled before the age of 22 years old, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your parent’s earnings history under Social Security’s Disabled Adult Child benefits program. Your parents must be collecting SSDI benefits themselves or be collecting Social Security Retirement benefits.

Disabled Adult Child

Generally, your SSDI benefit as a Disabled Adult Child becomes 50% of whatever amount your parent is collecting in Social Security benefits. Another way to become eligible for SSDI benefits, based on your deceased spouse’s wage earnings, is through the Social Security Widow’s/Widower’s benefits program. You can apply to receive benefits through the Widow/er’s program when you reach the age of 50 years old as a disabled individual.

Individuals receiving SSDI benefits become eligible for Medicare. An attorney can assist you in determining which SSDI benefits are appropriate, given your unique situation.

SSI Guidelines:

SSI is geared toward low-income and low-resource individuals. While SSDI is focused on whether or not you have the necessary wage earnings, SSI is not dependent upon your work history. While the same medical determination is made as in SSDI cases to determine whether you meet SSA’s rules for disability, individuals applying for SSI also must follow strict financial resource and income guidelines.

Financial Regulations

These strict financial resource and income guidelines apply to the individual both to be found eligible and to remain eligible for SSI monthly benefits. The SSI financial regulations can be reviewed, assessed, and applied to your unique situation to determine if you are eligible for SSI benefits. Each year, the monthly SSI maximum benefit amount is set by the SSA. For 2023, the maximum individual SSI monthly benefit paid is $914 per month.

Get Assistance With SSDI & SSI

Individuals receiving SSI benefits become eligible for Medicaid. An attorney can assist you in determining whether you are eligible for SSI benefits, given your unique financial situation.

If you need assistance in your social security disability insurance or supplemental security income case, please do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney at Pyfer, Reese, Straub, Gray & Farhat, P.C. for a free consultation. Several members of our team, including Lancaster and Ephrata social security law attorneys Megan H. Herr and Gabriella Hashem Farhat, who are knowledgeable in assessing which type of benefit(s) best applies to your case. Should we deem your case eligible, we will fight to gain benefits for you.