Social Security pays disability benefits through two programs, the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income program. According to the Social Security Administration, individuals are eligible for disability benefits if they are unable to work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
A) The Difference between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
B) Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits
Out of the past 10 years, have you worked at least 60 months (5 years)? If you answer “Yes,” you meet one of the requirements for applying for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). People with serious disabilities who haven’t been working may not be eligible to receive SSD benefits, but they may be eligible for SSI benefits.
C) Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income
If you have not worked at least 60 months (5 years) out of the last 10 years, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may be what you should apply for. SSI benefits are for people who have not been working and who have limited income and resources.
D) The Application Process
Your case may go through a few different stages before you are approved for Social Security SSD or SSI benefits. At each stage, your case may be denied. When you are denied, there is a time limit for you to decide to proceed to the next stage, so don’t wait!
• Your Initial Application, where you first apply for SSD or SSI benefits
• An Administrative Hearing by the Social Security Administration, where you ask Social Security to reconsider the denial of your initial application.
• A Review by the Social Security Administration Appeals Council, where you ask the Appeals Council to reconsider the decision of the Social Security Administration.
• A Federal Appeal, where you ask that a Federal Court reconsider the denial of your administrative hearing.