Do you get confused when you see various acronyms regarding supplemental financial assistance and insurance benefits at work, such as SSI, SSDI or SSA? Navigating a benefits claim can be challenging enough without adding further complication if you don't understand the differences between these things. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a government agency that oversees programs offering retirement, disability and survivors' benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to people who have paid into the system through payroll deductions.
On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is designed to help those who do not qualify for SSDI. If you have suffered a mental or physical disability and are unable to return to the workplace, you may have need of such benefits to help meet medical and daily living expenses. Outside guidance and support is often helpful if you plan to apply for SSDI or SSI, especially if the SSA denies your claim.
Understanding the process
As with most government programs, there are specific steps to take and requirements to meet in order to be eligible for either SSDI benefits or SSI. The following facts provide basic information that can help point you in the right direction if you are unable to work due to mental or physical disability:
- It's always a good idea to check ahead of time to see if your particular health condition is on the list of approved medical conditions to receive SSDI benefits or SSI.
- If you refer to the master list and do not see your particular disability listed, it does not necessarily mean you cannot get assistance. The SSA considers every case on an individual basis.
- There are certain requirements common between SSDI and SSI, such as minimum duration of disability, which is 12 months or longer. You must also meet the threshold for monthly income lost from full-time work because of your disability.
- You will need to provide a lot of personal information in order to apply for SSDI or SSI. This will include tax information, medical records that list prescription medications you take and any physical therapy details, as well as dates of any medical procedures you've undergone related to your condition.
Although it can be extremely frustrating, it's not uncommon to get a denial the first time around. There is a set process in place, however, that allows you to submit appeals, if necessary. If you plan to appeal, you must do so within a predetermined time period.
No need to go it alone
Living with a disability that prevents you from working is challenging enough without having to navigate a complex process to seek SSDI benefits or SSI. Many disabled workers in California have found it less stressful to allow experienced attorneys to act on their behalves.