When you call the Lam Law Firm for help receiving Social Security Disability, we will ask you several questions before we bring you in for a consultation. We don’t do this to pry or embarrass you. We ask these questions because there are two types of disability benefits, and our office only handles one type.
Both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) are programs from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide financial assistance to those living with disabilities. But what is the difference and how does that affect what you can receive?
How Eligibility Is Determined
The biggest difference between the two is how eligibility is determined.
SSD relies on what you (or your parents if you are a minor) “pay into” the system through Social Security taxes from employment. A good rule of thumb is that if you have worked 5 out of the last 10 years, you most likely have the credits to meet the non-medical requirements for SSD. We will go into more detail about credits and how to see if you have enough for SSD in a later blog.
Conversely, SSI does not require an employment history and instead relies solely upon financial need. But with this type of disability income, there are asset limits imposed on those wishing to receive SSI. You cannot have more than $2,000 in resources/assets such as cash and property or you will lose eligibility. This usually means that if you have a home in your name or an expensive car, you will not be eligible to receive SSI payments.
Medical Condition Requirement
Both types of Social Security Disability benefits require that your medical conditions prevent you from being able to work for a period of a year or longer. While you are applying, the Social Security Administration usually expects you not to work—and this application process can take months to years depending on the state you live in, even with an attorney. This requirement is difficult for many people since it is hard to raise a family or even live alone and not receive an income for such a long period of time. Many are forced to live with family or rely on their spouse as the sole income-earner. This is not an option for some people.
SSD and SSI both require a determination by the Social Security Administration. This is accomplished through disability evaluations by a board that reviews your medical records to determine whether your medical conditions are severe enough to prevent you from gainful employment. They will look at each of the impairments claimed on your application for benefits. Medical conditions that are permanent will be weighed more than those considered to be temporary.
How an SSD Attorney Can Help
Different law firms handle different types of benefits based on their experience with certain cases. Lam Law Firm handles adult applications for Social Security Disability.