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Social Security Disability Claims

Authored By: Alaska Legal Services - Anchorage LSC Funded

Social Security Disability Claims: Description of Social Security Disability

Description of Social Security Disability

Authored By: Alaska Legal Services - Anchorage LSC Funded
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Social Security Disability Claims Social Security Disability Claims

Social Security Disability Claims

Social Security Disability Claims

The social security disability program is a program of the federal government that has been around since 1956. It’s designed to assist people that are unable to work due to a physical or mental impairment. There are actually two distinct SS disability programs: "OASDI" refers to the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (also known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)); and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Although there are some important differences between the two programs, the medical rules used to decide whether a person is disabled are the same.

SSDI vs. SSI

SSDI is somewhat similar to an insurance benefit in that in order to collect SSDI benefits, you must pay into the system and accumulate work credits for a certain length of time. Your benefits are then based upon your earnings during your work history. In contrast, SSI is a poverty program through which people without a lengthy work history and without sufficient credits to qualify for SSDI can still obtain disability benefits. In order to collect SSI benefits, you must meet certain financial limits, such as income restrictions and a $2000 resource limit. The SSI program also provides benefits for blind or disabled children. There is a separate definition of disability for SSI children younger than age 18, but this presentation focuses exclusively on adults. While the definition of “disability” is the same under both programs, there are some other important differences between the programs:

SSDI

SSI

  • Eligibility based on insured status-must have worked and paid in 20 out of the last forty quarters
  • Eligibility based on income and resource requirements
  • Eligibility entitles beneficiary to cash benefits 5 months after onset of disability and Medicare 24 months after eligibility for monetary benefits
  • Eligibility entitles beneficiary to cash benefits and Medicaid from date of application
 
  • Persons aged 65 and over are eligible without regard to disability
  • Benefits can start up to 12 months prior to application
  • Benefits start on date of application
  • Benefits can be retroactive for up to 12 months. Onset of disability must have been at least 17 months prior to application
  • Benefits be retroactive to date of application