The term 'Social Security' is a familiar phrase to all Americans, one that's as well known as "The White House," or "Disney World." The Social Security Administration (SSA) is perhaps the best known United States federal agency, after all - nearly all of us know someone who collects some form of benefits through the Social Security Administration (mostly likely in the form of retirement benefits). What you may not know is that the SSA runs a variety of programs designed to help people who are disabled and can no longer work due to their disability.
You're not alone if you find yourself confused or overwhelmed when applying for Social Security disability benefits
If you're thinking about filing for Social Security disability benefits, having a basic understanding of the different types of programs available is a helpful first step in understanding your options.
In 2013 alone, the Social Security Administration assisted approximately 11 million disabled workers and dependents of disabled workers. Many of us know someone who has applied for Social Security Disability Benefits, but what exactly does that mean? The Social Security Administration runs two important programs which have specific requirements that you should be familiar with to see if you might qualify for assistance. At Grimes Teich and Anderson LLP, we're here to help you navigate all the bureaucracy and red tape that can come with applying for benefits.
To get you started, let's discuss the differences between Social Security's Disability Benefits program and the Social Security Supplemental Security Income program.
The Social Security Administration administers two disability programs - Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The SSDI program is also referred to as Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or Title II benefits because the program is governed by Title 2 of the Social Security Disability Act. It is designed to provide both income and healthcare coverage (through the Medicare program) to individuals who have been gainfully employed and paid into the system with Social Security (FICA) taxes that are normally taken out of your paychecks. You must have worked for a certain number of years in a job where you paid social security taxes and earned the required number of work credits and "quarters" of coverage. Eligibility for the program is also dependent on your age at the time you become disabled, when you last worked and contributed to the system through FICA taxes, and the length of time you last worked before becoming disabled. The SSDI program is not an income based program, and the individual's financial circumstances are not considered when determining eligibility. In general, a person who has worked approximately five out of the last ten years will more than likely be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.