Understanding Social Security Benefits for the Disabled:

The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Both are designed to provide a safety net to disabled Americans and their families when working is no longer possible.  Unfortunately, many claims are initially denied.  This can be due to medical or non-medical reasons.

What is SSDI?

SSDI is a program designed for people with work credits.  They have worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system.  If an individual is determined to be disabled, the individual will receive SSDI benefits regardless of the individual’s current income or assets.  SSDI benefits will begin 5 months after the onset date of your disability, and can be paid retroactively for up to 12 months prior to your initial application depending on your date of disability.  However, retroactive benefits are still subject to the 5-month waiting period.

What is SSI?

SSI is a “needs-based” program designed to pay benefits to disabled people even if they haven’t worked or paid taxes into the Social Security system.  The benefits are designed to help with basic living costs. To qualify for SSI payments, a claimant cannot have assets or income over a certain limit.  SSI benefits begin the month of your disability onset date, but no benefits will be paid for any time prior to the month you file your initial application.

If you are dealing with the SSDI or SSI appeals process, a Social Security lawyer may be your best chance to prove your disability claim to the SSA or Office of Hearings Operations (OHO).

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