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Types of Disability Benefits

Types of Disability Benefits

There are two main types of cash benefits available to Americans who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability.

Types of Disability Benefits

If you have a disability and are unable to work, you may be considering filing for disability benefits.  The process can be confusing and overwhelming, and often requires the assistance of an experienced social security disability attorney.

Many people who apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may not be aware that there are two separate types of cash benefits offered through two different government programs.  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both administrated by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  They each have the same application process and the medical eligibility requirements for each program is the same.  However, there are differences between the two programs.  This includes the financial eligibility requirements for each program, the type of medical insurance connected to each program and the amount of benefits paid to each person who qualifies.  Learn more about the types of SSD benefits available — and talk to a skilled social security disability attorney to learn if you may qualify for either or both types of benefits.

Financial Eligibility

The main difference between the two types of benefits of who is eligible for the program.  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to applicants who have worked for a certain number of years and earned a specified number of work credits before becoming disabled and applying for benefits.  It does not look at your finances or assets to determine eligibility.  In contrast, Supplement Security Income  (SSI) looks at an applicant’s income and assets and does not consider work history.  In 2016, an individual applicant for SSI must not have assets worth more than $2,000 and must have an income of less than $733 per month after allowable deductions. SSI is therefore geared more towards people with disabilities who have low income and few assets, while SSDI is for anyone who is unable to work due to a disability and who has worked for a certain number of years prior to becoming disabled.

Medical Insurance

The two SSD programs also different in the type of medical insurance associated with each benefit. Because SSI is intended to be available to individuals with disabilities who have low incomes, these recipients will usually be able to receive Medicaid, which is a government insurance program for people who meet certain guidelines.  As a general rule, if a person qualifies for SSI, they will likely also qualify for Medicaid.   This medical insurance program is fairly comprehensive, and is funded by the federal and state governments.  Medicaid is administered by each state.

In contrast, people who qualify for only SSDI will not likely be eligible for Medicaid.  Instead, most SSDI recipients will become eligible for Medicare after two years on benefits.  Individuals with certain disabilities may be eligible for Medicare sooner than two years.  Medicare is funded and administered by the federal government, and its coverage is not as comprehensive as that offered by Medicaid.

Benefit Amounts

Finally, the two programs differ in the total cash benefit available to recipients each month.  SSI has a total maximum benefit limit, which was $733 per month in 2016.  This amount could be reduced if the individual has other income or benefits.  SSDI does not set a limit on the monthly benefit received; instead, because it is based on work history, your benefit is based on the amount that you have paid into the Social Security system over the years.  In 2016, the average SSDI benefit payment was between $1,000 and $1,2000.

If you are unable to work due to a disability, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits.  At PLBSH, we offer caring, compassionate representation to individuals who require assistance in filing for and handling their Social Security benefit applications. Contact our office today at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can assist you with your Social Security application.

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