How do eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSD benefits differ?

May 20 2015

There are many requirements a person must meet in order to qualify for either SSDI or SSI benefits through Social Security.

When residents of Colorado become disabled, they may be able to receive benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program or the Supplemental Security Income program. To ensure they apply for the right program, it is a good idea that potential disability benefit recipients make sure they understand the eligibility requirements for each.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The SSDI program is the standard disability program through Social Security and applies to people between the ages of 18 to 65 who are disabled and unable to work. According to Social Security, there are two general requirements SSDI benefit recipients have to meet. First, they must live with a medical condition that meets Social Security’s disability standards. These standards involve the following:

  • Applicants will suffer from their disability for more than a year or, they will eventually pass away from their disability.
  • Applicants are unable to handle their previous employment-related duties since becoming disabled.
  • Applicants are unable to transition to another line of work because of their disability.

The disability must be a condition that is on Social Security’s eligibility list. Additionally, the person must show proof that they have been medically diagnosed, that they display symptoms associated with that disorder, and that they are under treatment for the condition. Applicants may also have to show that treatment will not improve their condition within a year.

Second, in most cases, potential SSDI benefit recipients must have paid into the Social Security system by working for a certain period of time. In order to qualify for these benefits, potential recipients must also have enough work credits, which are based on a person’s annual income, for their specific age.

Supplemental Security Income

The SSI program has similar eligibility requirements to the SSDI program, but the main difference lies in the applicants’ financial eligibility. While SSDI recipients generally have to use their work history as a qualifier, SSI uses applicants’ income level to determine eligibility. Those who wish to apply for SSI benefits must also be a U.S. citizen or qualifying alien and not be absent from the country for 30 consecutive days or more every year.

While determining benefit recipients’ income, Social Security considers how much they make, whether they receive food or shelter at no cost and if they receive another type of financial support. Assets such as real estate, life insurance policies, cash and vehicles are also factored into the equation.

Consult with an attorney

Those who apply for either SSDI or SSI benefits in Colorado to receive financial assistance after becoming disabled often find that the application process is overwhelming. Furthermore, there are several factors and unique situations that can affect a person’s eligibility. Therefore, reaching out to an attorney in your area for guidance may improve your chances of receiving approval on your disability claim.

Keywords: Social Security, disability, benefits