What are the eligibility requirements for the two types of Social Security disability?

Each type of Social Security disability, SSI and SSDI, have different eligibility requirements. The different requirements can be confusing to many people in need of Social Security disability, which is why it may be important to work with an attorney. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton we have a team of attorneys who understand the differences and are ready to begin working for you.

To be eligible for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) your income cannot exceed a certain level. SSI is a “needs” based disability. If your household income exceeds this threshold, you are deemed to not “need” the benefits and do not qualify for SSI. This income limit is based on the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) and changes annually with the cost-of-living-adjustment. For 2016, the FBR is $733 per month for individuals and $1,100 for couples; however, your countable income may be different than your actual income, so talk to an attorney and let them advise you on whether or not you exceed this income limit.

To be eligible for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) you must have worked and paid FICA taxes for a required minimum number of years. It works much like an insurance policy, hence the name “disability insurance”. As you work and pay taxes you earn credits which essentially “insure” you under SSDI in the event you become disabled. If you stop working, you stop paying taxes, and stop earning those credits. Eventually, your credits will expire and your “insured period” will end. SSA (Social Security Administration) calls this your “date last insured” or “DLI” and you must prove you became disabled before this date in order to have access to SSDI benefits. Many people stop working because of a disability, but hold off on filing for SSDI for various reasons. This is quite dangerous because your DLI could be quickly approaching and you not know until it is too late. Even if you have been told by SSA that your DLI is in the in the past, please call Rainwater, Holt & Sexton as we may still be able to help you.

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