SSDI and SSI: Eligibility Differences

The Social Security Administration oversees two different programs that provide benefits based on disability: The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. While they both provide financial benefits to disabled citizens, their eligibility requirements are different.

Understanding the differences between SSDI and SSI is necessary to ensure applicants apply for benefits under the correct program, thus increasing their chances of approval.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI provides benefits to workers who become disabled. As a U.S. worker, you have contributed to the SSDI program through payroll taxes. Eligibility is based on:

  • Years worked. You must have a certain number of work credits (i.e. years of contributions) in order to be eligible for benefits.
  • Age. You must be over 18 but under 65 years of age in order to qualify for SSDI.

Other facts:

  • Under the SSDI program, a disabled person’s spouse and dependent children can receive partial benefits.
  • If you receive SSDI benefits for more than two years, you will become eligible for Medicare.
  • Benefits are based on the “worker’s lifetime average earnings”, similar to the Social Security retirement benefit, but may be reduced if you are also receiving worker’s compensation payments or other public disability benefits.
  • Outside income or resources do not affect the benefit amount.
  • There is a five-month waiting period for benefits; you won’t receive benefits for the first five months after you become disabled.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

In contrast to SSDI, the SSI program is needs-based, according to income and financial need. It is not funded through payroll taxes or the Social Security fund, but rather through general fund taxes. Benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. To qualify for SSDI you must:

  • Meet Social Security’s disability criteria.
  • Have limited income and resources.
  • Have less than $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple) in assets.

Other facts:

  • SSI is available to people of all ages, including children.
  • Qualified individuals receive Medicaid in their residence state.
  • Most qualified individuals will also qualify for food stamps.
  • Benefits begin on the first of the month when an application is submitted.

A Social Security Attorney Can Help You Secure Benefits

In general, it is more common for SSDI applications to be approved than SSI applications, but approval is never guaranteed and the application process is never easy. Our Social Security attorney can help you navigate the SSDI or SSI process, ensure your application is complete and accurate, and follow up on your application status so you can focus on other ways to make it through this challenging time in your life.

With many denials coming down to technicalities, it is extremely helpful to have a qualified set of eyes take a second look at your application or to have an attorney advocate on your behalf or appeal a decision. No matter where you are in the SSDI or SSI application process, The Beregovich Law Firm can help you secure the best possible outcome.

Contact us at (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation.

Appealing Denied SSDI Claims

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program exists to provide a safety net for workers who become unable to work. Workers pay into the program through their payroll taxes, but that doesn’t mean the funds will be automatically available to you when and if you ever need them. You’ll still have to apply for Social Security Disability benefits and, unfortunately, many more claims are denied by the Social Security Administration than are accepted.

Fortunately, applicants have recourse through the appeals process. Appealing denied SSDI claims is onerous, but the end result can be well worth it.

Steps In The SSDI Appeals Process

Applicants have 60 days from the time they receive their SSDI denial to file a written request for an appeal. Once the appeal has begun, it goes through four stages:

  1. Reconsideration. During this stage, denied applications are re-examined by a claims examiner who was not involved in the original decision. You are allowed to submit new or additional evidence to support your claim and your SSDI attorney can answer questions posed by the claims agent.  
  2. Hearing. If a claim is denied again or if you don’t agree with the results, you may request a Hearing in front of an administrative law judge. At this stage, you will appear in person before the judge to answer questions, witnesses may be called, experts may be brought in, and new evidence presented. Your attorney will play the important role in preparing you for questioning, securing witnesses, experts, and additional evidence, if available.
  3. Appeals Council. If you are dissatisfied with the judge’s ruling, the next step is to request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council for another examination or hearing. However, you are not guaranteed an examination or hearing. If you are granted a second hearing your attorney will repeat the actions taken at your first hearing.
  4. Federal Court. Your final option is to take the denial all the way to the federal district court. To do this, you’ll need to file a federal lawsuit.

Top Reasons Why SSDI Claims Are Denied

  • Lack of Medical Evidence. You must provide medical proof that you are unable to work due to your disability or injury. That means submitting records from your primary care physician and/or specialists that demonstrate your injury. Don’t expect the SSA to send you to a doctor to verify your disability, that’s not how it works. You must see a doctor first and he or she must document the injury and how it prevents you from working, then that documentation should be submitted with your initial application.
  • Previous Denials. Some people think they have a better chance of being approved if they simply apply again, but this is not the case. Appealing a denial is actually a better option than starting over from scratch.
  • Failure to Follow Treatment. If you fail to follow your doctor’s orders for treatment, you will be denied because the claims examiner won’t be able to determine if the actual injury/disability is preventing you from working or if it is your refusal to cooperate with treatment.
  • Failure to Cooperate. Speaking of a failure to cooperate with treatment, failing to cooperate with the SSA and its agents can lead to a denial too. If you don’t respond to requests for information or don’t show up for medical exams or meetings, you may be denied.
  • Fraud.  If you lied on your application or misrepresented yourself or your injury, the claim will likely be denied.

Appeal Denied SSDI Claims With Help From The Beregovich Law Firm

If your SSDI application has been denied, don’t despair! Initial denials are very common and can be successfully appealed with the right approach. Contact The Beregovich Law Firm for SSDI appeals assistance or even for help submitting your initial application.

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation today.

Reduce Your Risk Of SSD Denial With Help From The Beregovich Law Firm

Many Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance applicants only seek out an SSD attorney if their application has been denied, but a qualified SDD attorney can help you at all stages of the application process and may even reduce the chances of your application being denied. This is hugely important since almost 65% of first-time applicants are denied SSD benefits. Many denials come down to technicalities such as filling out a form incorrectly. With the process taking as long as a year from application to approval, holdups or denials based on a technicality can be financially devastating.

The high rate of denials underscores the fact that applying for benefits is complicated – and the appeals process is even worse. It’s not something you want to go through and it’s definitely not something you want to go through without legal representation.

How An SSD Attorney Helps In The SSD Process

Since denial rates are so high, it makes sense to have an experienced set of eyes double and triple checking the application. That’s the role of your SSD attorney during the application process. In addition to ensuring the application is complete and accurate, your attorney can make sure you have the medical evidence you need to prove your claim and compile all of your information, so it is ready for appeal if your application is denied.

The documentation requirements for SSD are extensive. In addition to medical proof, you’ll be asked to provide a multitude of personal information, banking information, work history, and more. A single mistake along the way can derail your application and result in a denial.

Your attorney can make sure you’ve met all of the SSA’s requirements, track the progress of your application once it’s been submitted, handle any subsequent requests for additional information, speak with SSA representatives on your behalf, and generally facilitate and manage the process.

And if you are denied, your attorney will be well-prepared to mount an appeal right away.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm For SSD Help

Regardless of where you are in the SSD application process, The Beregovich Law Firm can help. Contact us for help determining your eligibility, completing your application, following up with the SSA, or appealing a denial. We are based in Florida, but work with clients all over the United States to help them obtain the benefits they need.  

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation.

How to Apply for SSD Benefits

Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI – Social Security Disability Insurance) is a federal benefit program that provides individuals and their families income when an unexpected injury or illness occurs and they become unable to work. This income can be vital to a family’s survival during recovery and may even be an individual’s primary source of income if the disability is chronic or life-altering.

SSDI benefits are only available to those who have earned enough work credits to qualify for the program. This is because SSDI is funded through payroll taxes. For those who do not have enough work credits, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is available, which is funded through general fund taxes. For the purposes of this post, we are only going to look at SSD/SSDI benefits.

In order to receive SSDI benefits, you’ll need to apply for them, which can be intimidating if you don’t know what to do. Here at The Beregovich Law Firm, we help families and individuals apply for SSD benefits to minimize their chances of denial. We want to share a few tips with our readers to help them maximize their chances of getting approved for benefits.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

The two most important things to understand about Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are:

  1. You can only apply for SSDI benefits if you have a work history and have paid into payroll taxes, and
  2. You should apply immediately after you get injured.

As we mentioned above, if you don’t have that work experience, you will be denied SSDI benefits.

You also want to apply as soon as possible because there is a 5-month waiting period to receive SSDI benefits, which means you won’t actually receive a payment until the 6th month. The waiting period begins with the first full month after the date that the Social Security Administration decides your disability began, so you may as well get your paperwork in early and get into the review queue.

There are several ways to apply for SSDI benefits:

  1. In person. You can submit your application for benefits in person at any Social Security Office.
  2. Online. You may apply online through the Social Security Administration.
  3. By Phone. You can call 1-800-772-1213 to apply for benefits.
  4. Through your attorney. You can work with a Social Security Disability lawyer to complete your application and apply for benefits. If you are at all confused about the process or your eligibility for benefits, we recommend you get help from our SSDI attorney in Florida.


Speak With An SSDI Attorney At Beregovich Law

We can’t stress enough how important it is to follow instructions and include all pertinent documentation when applying for SSDI benefits. Denials are very common with many denials occurring due to simple application errors. Don’t put your family’s finances at risk! Contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us today to receive help applying for SSDI benefits.


5 Steps To Determining Your Social Security Disability Eligibility

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides income for millions of Americans who become disabled and are unable to work. SSD/SSDI is just one of several entitlement programs run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This makes it important to understand the eligibility requirements for SSDI so you can make sure you’re applying for the correct benefits, reducing your chances of being denied benefits and delayed payments.

SSDI Eligibility Requirements

The first thing to understand about SSDI is that it is only eligible to

  • people 65 and under who,
  • have worked for a certain number of years, and
  • paid payroll taxes before they became disabled.
  • You must also meet citizenship or lawful residency requirements.

The Social Security Administration uses 5 points of criteria to determine SSDI eligibility.

  1. Work Situation. The SSA will first determine if you have enough “work credits” to be eligible for SSDI. Work credits are based on the number of years you have worked. How many you need to be eligible for benefits depends on your age at the time of disability. If you have enough work credits, the SSA will then want to know if you are still working. They will not consider applicants who make more than a certain amount of money every month.
  2. Severity of Medical Condition. Next, the SSA will examine the severity of the medical condition and whether it is severe enough to be considered “disabling”. To be considered “disabled”, the medical condition must prevent the applicant from performing the basic functions of their work for at least one year.
  3. Is the Medical Condition on the SSA’s List of Qualifying Conditions? The SSA has developed a list of medical conditions that automatically qualify for disability. If your condition isn’t on the list, they’ll examine it to decide if it is severe enough to qualify as disabling. The list includes a very wide variety of medical conditions that include mental and physical conditions, diseases, and disorders.
  4. Ability to Work Your Old Job. The agency also looks at whether or not an applicant can be expected to be able to perform his/her old job despite their medical condition/injury. If not, they move on to step 5.
  5. Can You Do Other Work? The SSA will look at your age, medical condition, education, work experience, and skills to determine if you could do a different job. If it is determined that you are unable to perform another type of work, the SSA will qualify you as “disabled”.

Work With The Beregovich Law Firm To Improve Your Chances of Approval

As you may expect, there are several points along the way in their determination that the SSA may rule against you and deny your application for SSDI  benefits. The Beregovich Law Firm works hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. We help applicants through the application process and can fight for your right to benefits via an appeal if you are denied.

Contact us at (800) 631-9009 or email us for help with your SSDI situation.

Tip of the Day: Use Keywords in Your Email Subject Lines

When you send an email, the first thing your recipient sees is the subject line, so make sure it’s as clear as possible: What is your email’s purpose? What do you want your recipient to do? Take a page from military personnel. Their subject lines use keywords in all caps to note the email’s purpose. For example:

  • INFO – For informational purposes only
  • REQUEST – Seeks permission or approval by the recipient
  • ACTION – The recipient must take some action

These demarcations might seem obvious or needlessly exclamatory, but they make your emails stand out in the recipient’s inbox. So if you need to send your direct reports a status update, try using the subject line: INFO – Status Update. If you need your manager to approve your vacation request, you could write REQUEST – Vacation. Using these key words also forces you to think about what you really want from someone before you contribute to their email clutter.

Safe and Relaxing Weekend

The Beregovich Law Firm wishes you a safe and relaxing weekend. For emergencies, please call our after hours line at (407) 809-4800 and leave a message. #tellusyourstory #beregovichlaw

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