What Is Social Security Disability?

February 9, 2016
Dayes Law Firm

When disabled Americans cannot work and support themselves, federal programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provide assistance.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides injured and disabled workers with financial assistance through two programs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide monthly cash assistance to disabled Americans who qualify. 

The Social Security Administration severely restricts the term disabled. In most cases, a child or adult is disabled if they have a medically determined physical or mental impairment that:

  • Severely limits their ability to function (child) or prohibits the ability to work for money (adult); and
  • Is fatal; or
  • Is a condition that will last at least 12 months.

Social Security disability programs keep millions of Americans from falling into poverty. Both of these programs are funded by a portion of the payroll taxes that all employees pay into the Social Security fund.

Dayes Law Firm PC serves clients in Utah, Arizona and California. If you are disabled in any of these states and you need help getting back on your financial feet, contact us toll-free at 1-800-503-2000.

Who qualifies for SSDI benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are provided to disabled individuals and certain members of their family if they have worked long enough to become insured by the program.

Depending on the age at which the disability occurred and the number of work credits that a disabled employee has accrued, the Social Security Administration may award SSDI benefits.

The SSA converts dollar earnings in to work credits. In 2014, you earn one work credit for every $1,200 that you make up to a maximum of four work credits each year. Additionally, in order to qualify for SSDI benefits, an employee must have recent work history. At least 20 credits must have been earned in the last 10 years if you are over the age of 31. Younger workers and blind applicants are held to a different standard in determining eligibility. 

Disability AgeWork CreditsYears of Work
62 or older4010

If you qualify for Social Security disability benefits such as SSDI, spouses and dependent children under the age of 16 may qualify for dependents disability benefits. The SSA calculates the benefits that an individual and his or her family can receive using intricate formulas.

There are strict requirements overseeing whether spouses and children can recover, however, and a Dayes Law Firm PC SSDI lawyer would be invaluable in making sure that you and your family meet the requirements.

Who Qualifies for SSI benefits?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are provided to adults over the age of 65 who are either blind or disabled who also have limited income and resources. A child may also qualify under some specific circumstances, including as a dependent of a disabled adult or on the basis of blindness or another disability.

Qualifying for SSI benefits does not require an extensive work history like qualifying for SSDI. If an adult or child is disabled and they have severely limited resources, they may qualify for SSI. The income and asset requirements under SSI eligibility are very strict.

In order to receive cash benefits under SSI, recipients must usually have less than $2,000 in assets if single for less than $3,000 if in a couple. Assets are easier to determine than income. Income includes wages, unemployment insurance, Social Security retirement benefits, free food, or housing.

Additionally, the Social Security Administration may count the income of people living with the disabled individual to determine whether they will qualify for benefits for not.

Because the process is so intricate, the assistance of a social security disability lawyer can be the difference in being approved for benefits or rejected.

Proving a Disability

Proving that you are disabled and that you are entitled to disability benefits is a long and complicated process. The Social Security Administration requires extensive documentation of a disability, including documentation from:

  • Medical professionals:
    • Licensed physicians, psychologists, optometrists, speech-language pathologists, and podiatrists are all considered by the SSA as medical professionals who can legitimately evaluate claims of disability.
  • Treatment sources:
    • Medical reports from treating physicians serve as the best source of evidence for establishing a disabled employees medical condition.
  • Health facilities:
    • Medical evidence from hospitals, clinics and other health facilities can chart the treatment history for a disabled worker.
  • Non-medical evidence:
    • Information from parents, schools, social workers and employers can be used to demonstrate how a disability keeps an adult or child from functioning well in school or work settings.

A successful claim requires you to gather and track down medical, school, work and psychological records and evaluations. An experienced disability lawyer can ensure that the SSA has all of the information it needs to rule in your favor.

Do I Need a Lawyer to get Disability Benefits?

No, you do not need a lawyer to file for Social Security disability benefits. But having a lawyer can ensure that your case is presented to the Social Security Administration with all of the paperwork filed appropriately and on time.

Experienced Social Security disability lawyers who are with you at the beginning of your case can help increase your chances of being approved for payments. Also an attorney could help you get disability back pay.

Statistics demonstrate that individuals who have the help of a disability lawyer are much more likely to be granted their disability benefits including all of the money they would have been entitled to had they been able to access their benefits at an earlier time.

Additionally, disabled clients who have their claims denied can really benefit from Social Security Disability attorneys who understand the entire appeals process.

Decades of Social Security Disability Experience

The U.S. Government is the largest provider of financial assistance to disabled Americans. While the process of getting approved for Social Security benefits can seem long and complicated, an experienced attorney can make a world of difference.

At the law offices of Dayes Law Firm PC, our highly skilled Social Security disability negotiators and litigators will walk you through the entire Social Security disability process.

If you are disabled and cannot work anymore, get the help you need. Call 1-800-503-2000 to speak with a representative of our firm or fill out Free Case Evaluation form 24/7.