Social Security disability benefits are an important resource for a number of disabled individuals. Because of the importance of disability benefits for disabled individuals and for many of their families, it is helpful to be aware of the different options available depending on the disabled individual’s situation. There are generally two options that may be available through the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disabled individuals, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
In general, SSDI is available to disabled individuals who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death. In addition, SSDI benefits are based on work history and taxable income paid into Social Security. A variety of parties may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits including disabled or blind workers, their children, widowers and adults disabled since childhood. Alternately, SSI benefits are not based on work history and may be available to disabled individuals in different situations.
Eligibility for SSI benefits is generally based on limited income and limited resources and may be available to disabled individuals of limited means. An applicant’s personal assets cannot exceed the eligibility criteria determined by the SSA and only certain assets are considered. SSI benefits may be available to disabled or blind adults, disabled or blind children or individuals who are 65 or older.
The process of applying for disability benefits can be complex which is why it is important to be familiar with the different options available and how to apply for each. Because eligibility for disability benefits is dependent on the circumstances of the disabled individual, it is important to know how to select the best option for the situation and how to apply based on that selection.