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Social Security Disability Benefits

Definition - What does Social Security Disability Benefits mean?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance a claimant must have a severe mental or physical health condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and precludes a worker from performing substantial gainful activity for at least 12 continuous months. SSDI auxiliary benefits may, in some cases, also be paid to the widow, widowers, and children of insured and disabled workers.

In addition to the medical criteria established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance workers must also have worked long enough and paid enough in payroll taxes to be considered insured by the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration determines the number of work credits which must be accumulated by disabled workers to qualify for SSDI, and the number of credits needed to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance can vary if you become disabled at a young age.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income benefits, on the other hand, are provided to individuals who have not worked and who have not accumulated work credits but who are blind, aged, or disabled, and are no longer able to perform substantial gainful activity.

Unlike SSDI, which is based on a participant's contributions into the SSA system, SSI is a needs based program provided to those who meet the criteria outlined above and who have very limited income and resources.

Personal Injury and Social Security Disability Insurance

Claimants who have been severely injured from the negligence of another person may find that their injuries or conditions are so severe they will not be able to return to full-time employment for at least 12 continuous months. Claimants who are unable to return to work following their personal injuries may apply for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Assuming the claimant meets all of the necessary requirements, Social Security Disability Insurance may be available to injured workers in addition to the compensation they have received from a personal injury settlement. Social Security Disability Insurance will provide the claimant with monthly payments to replace their wages. Medicare will also be provided to SSDI recipients after a prescribed waiting period.

Supplemental Security Income or SSI may also be available if the claimant does not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. SSI may be denied, however, if the personal injury award is too high and the claimant's income and resources exceeds the limits allowed under SSI (currently the SSA only allows SSI recipients to have up to $2,000 in resources).

Personal injury when do I apply for SSA disability benefits?

Unfortunately, you cannot apply for SSDI benefits until you are sure your condition will last at least 12 continuous months and you have enough medical evidence to support this fact.

Additionally, if you are working too much or making too much money when you apply for SSDI benefits you will automatically be denied.

With that said, it can take weeks, months, or years for the SSA to approve your disability claim (if it is approved at all) so it is important to apply as soon as possible.

Applying for SSA Disability Benefits

To apply for SSDI benefits you can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; visit your local Social Security Office; or you can apply for benefits online.

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