Social Security Disability (SSD)
When people become disabled and can no longer work, there are Social Security programs that may be available to them. Determining eligibility is not always easy, so you need a seasoned attorney to work with you throughout the process.
There are two basic programs under Social Security Disability. Both pay only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays monthly benefits to you if you become disabled before you reach retirement age. To be eligible for these benefits, an individual must prove that they are both “disabled” and “insured.” To be insured means you have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes so you have enough credits to receive SSDI. “Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. There are several factors that prove disability under Social Security rules, but generally you must show:
- You cannot do the work that you did before;
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability must have lasted, or is expected to last for, at least one year or to result in death.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits based on financial need. Financial eligibility can be difficult to understand, but you must have a limited amount of resources and income. Eligibility for SSI does not depend on your work history or payment of Social Security taxes, but instead requires that a person be disabled, blind, or older than 65. You must also be a U.S. Citizen or a qualified alien to be eligible for SSI.
Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules called “work incentives,” which provide continued benefits and healthcare coverage to help you transition back to work.