SSDI (Social Security Disability)
These benefits are payable to workers who are unable to work for at least a year due to injury or sickness. Your eligibility depends on a number of factors including:
The nature of your illness or injury. Some people will qualify for SSDI based upon the seriousness of their condition. There are a series of “listings” which allow you to qualify for SSDI if your illness is serious enough;
If you don’t meet a listing (and most people don’t), you may still qualify for SSDI based upon the effects of your illnesses/injuries on you and:
Your education level;
Your ability to communicate in English;
Your ability to perform the type of work you have done before (“past relevant work”); and
Your ability to perform lighter work and/or transfer your skills to a new career
Many people are denied SSDI when they apply solely because they don’t meet a listing or fail to list all the illnesses they have. Retaining an attorney to handle your appeal significantly increases your chances of qualifying for SSDI.
Once you have been determined to be eligible for SSDI for two years, you are eligible for Medicare benefits as well. The two years may be counted retroactively to the date you first became unable to work. This means winning your SSDI appeal also means being able to receive Medicare.
SSI is for adults is a need-based program for those with limited or no work history. It is designed for those who have not paid in to Social Security through work because they cannot work. Those eligible for SSI not only need to show they are disabled, but also that they meet certain income thresholds for their households. SSI looks at a number of things such as the income of the members of the household and available assets such as homes, vehicles and cash in the bank. Even if you are disabled, you will not qualify for SSI unless you show the necessary lack of resources. An attorney can help you navigate these confusing rules.
Those who qualify for SSI are usually able to receive Medicaid medical benefits for themselves and their dependents and SNAP (food stamps).
Children may also qualify for SSI payments based upon illness and family income and assets.
In certain circumstances, widows and children can qualify for Social Security when a spouse or parent is deceased. This is called AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). Older widows can also sometimes claim their deceased spouse's Social Security instead of their own and receive a higher monthly payment.