Skip to content

Social Security Disability

Which Disability Program is Best for Me?

What should you do if you are not yet at retirement age, but find that because of physical and/or mental impediments, you are not able to work a full time job? 

One option may be an application for disability benefits under one of the Federal programs set up to provide assistance to people with disabilities: Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI).  Although both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration and medical eligibility for disability is determined in the same manner for both programs, they differ in significant ways.

  1. SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through payroll taxes. SSDI recipients are considered “insured” because they have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes. SSDI candidates must be younger than 65 and have earned a certain number of “work credits”. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. The amount needed for a credit changes from year to year, but In 2016, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,260 of wages or self-employment income. After receiving SSDI for two years, a disabled person will become eligible for Medicare. Under SSDI, a disabled person’s spouse and children dependents are eligible to receive partial dependent benefits, called auxiliary benefits. However, only adults over the age of 18 can receive the SSDI disability benefit.
  2. SSI: Supplemental Security Income is a program that is strictly need-based, according to income and assets, and is funded by general fund taxes (not from the Social Security trust fund). This program provides stipends to low-income people who are either aged (65 or older), blind, or disabled. To meet the SSI income requirement, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income. Disabled people who are eligible under the income requirements for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid in the state they reside in. Most people who qualify for SSI will also qualify for food stamps, and the amount an eligible person will receive is dependent on where they live and the amount of regular, monthly income they have. 

The Social Security Administration’s rules and regulations are more complicated than almost any other administration agency in the country. Simply determining the form of Social Security assistance you qualify for can be a daunting task. If you find yourself uncertain about you eligibility for SSDI or SSI, a good first step is to talk to a Social security benefits attorney to help determine which program you may be eligible for.

Let Us Help You Today

Ron Fladhammer has over 20 years of experience representing individuals who have been denied Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits. 

Our office hosts one of the only video hearing location sites in the state of Illinois, so there is no need to travel to any other location to have your hearing held. Our success rate is outstanding, and if your case is not approved, there are no attorney fees.