Pursuant to the Social Security Act (the “Act”, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) administers Federal assistance programs for people with disabilities. If you have a “disability” as defined under the Act and meet medical requirements, you may qualify for benefits under either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
These programs differ in that SSDI is an entitlement program whereas SSI is a means-based program.
If you’ve made contributions to Social Security from payroll deductions for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes for at least ten years you may be eligible for SSDI. You also earn work credits for the amount of time you are employed. If you have enough work credits, even if you earn a substantial amount of income, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.
Not only must an applicant for SSDI meet the requirements related to work credits and FICA deductions, an applicant must meet the criteria to satisfy the definition of a “disabled” person under the Act. A claimant must have some disabling condition that prevents him from performing substantial gainful activity, i.e., working.
While SSDI is intended to assist disabled workers by allowing them to access their Social Security funds for retirement, SSI is intended to assist the disabled, elderly, and blind pay for necessities such as food and shelter. Thus, Supplemental Security Income is not based on payroll deductions and work credits, instead, it is based on whether or not the applicant has the means to pay for simple necessities while similarly to SSDI, meeting the criteria to be defined as “disabled” under the Social Security Act.
While both SSDI and SSI have different criteria for benefit eligibility, many potential claimants commonly apply for both programs since the possibility exists that they may be eligible to receive both types of benefits if the amount of SSDI benefits is below the minimum eligibility level for SSI benefits.
The attorneys at Powell Law have represented the disabled in Social Security Disability cases since President Eisenhower first made disability insurance available to Americans in 1956. At Powell Law, we effectively assist clients throughout the entire Social Security Disability claims process.
Our decades of experience make us the clear and obvious choice for representation in Social Security disability matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay unless we win!