Are There 2 Types of Disability Benefits?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to those who are unable to work due to certain medical conditions that hinder their lives. These benefits serve to ensure these individuals can meet their basic living needs.

Perhaps you are considering applying for disability benefits. If so, it is important to first understand that there is not merely one type of disability benefits program. Thus, by familiarizing yourself with each program, you can better determine which type of benefits you may qualify for. The following overview will help.

What Are the Two Types of Disability Benefits? 

There are two main types of disability benefits programs in the United States: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In general, both of these programs offer financial assistance to those who are unable to work due to disabling conditions.

However, it is important to note that these two disability benefits programs are not the same. Understanding the differences between SSDI and SSI is key to understanding which type of disability benefits you may be eligible to receive.

Social Security Disability Insurance 

To be eligible for SSDI, one must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 65.
  • Have worked in the past but is now unable to.
  • Paid into Social Security taxes and have sufficient work credits.
  • Meet a Blue Book listing.

The Blue Book is a resource created and utilized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) when evaluating people’s SSDI and SSI applications. Through the Blue Book and its listings, the SSA offers details on myriad medical conditions and describes how the impairments may qualify someone for SSDI benefits. The Blue Book is an informational resource that is available to the public.

One should also be aware that some individuals may qualify for SSDI benefits despite still being able to work. This may be the case if they earn less than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount. In 2023, the SGA for most individuals is $1,470. However, for those who are statutorily blind, the 2023 SGA is $2,460.

Supplemental Security Income 

SSI benefits are typically available to those who have never worked or can barely work. SSI provides a basic monthly payments to eligible individuals in order to help them meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

To receive SSI, someone who is single must have less than $2,000 in assets. If married, they must have less than $3,000. Additionally, they must meet a Blue Book listing.

It is worth noting that SSI benefits are available to both children and adults. Adult recipients of SSI are often blind, disabled, or over the age of 65. 

Get In Touch With A Disability Lawyer 

Anyone applying for either type of disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) should know that merely submitting an application does not guarantee an approval from the SSA. In fact, the SSA only approves initial disability benefits claims approximately 21% of the time.

This is one of many reasons to strongly consider hiring a lawyer when applying for disability benefits. An attorney can help you put together a claim to ultimately boost your odds of receiving an approval. And, even if the SSA does deny your initial claim, a lawyer can assist you in the process of appealing their decision.

Additionally, hiring an attorney significantly reduces the burden on you. This is important for anyone struggling with a disability because a lawyer can help ensure you are able to focus on taking care of yourself while they work to get you the financial assistance you may need. To get this started, complete the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.

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