Social Security pays disability benefits through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is awarded to individuals whom are disabled and unable to work, yet have paid into Social Security for the required amount of time. SSI awards benefits according to financial need.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that benefits disabled American’s who must stop working prior to reaching retirement age. Claimants who are determined disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) will be awarded monthly benefits.
There are several requirements a claimant must meet to be eligible for disability benefits. First, the individual must have a medical condition(s) that prevents him/her from working. This condition must last, or be expedited to last, a one year minimum or result in death. Second, a claimant is required to have worked both long enough and recently enough at a job that paid into Social Security. Those 31 years and older must have worked 5 of the past 10 years, which equates to 20 credits. More information on Social Security work credits can be found here.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that is strictly need-based according to income and assets. Unlike SSDI, this does not involve one’s work history. Instead, a claimant must be determined disabled by SSA standard AND be able to demonstrate financial need (insufficient or no income).
Yes, it is possible to receive both types of benefits: your income and assets must be low enough to qualify for SSI, yet you have worked long enough at a job that paid in to Social Security to qualify for SSDI.
Yes, and generally there is no reduction in your Social Security Disability benefits due to your Military Retirement. If you have health care benefits from the VA, they may end or change when you become eligible for Medicare.
Yes, there is no offset between SSDI and VA Disability compensation. You may receive both concurrently.
The primary difference between these systems is the disability determination. The VA awards both partial and full disability, measured on a scale of 0-100%. The Social Security Administration awards benefits on an all or nothing basis. Either the claimant is found to be disabled and will receive monthly benefits, or the claimant will be denied benefits in total.
A claimant can work while applying for Social Security Disability, however, there are strict limitations on the amount. Earning more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit will prove to the SSA that you are able to work and, therefore, are not eligible for benefits. In 2018, a claimant can earn no more than $1,180 gross income per month.
Social Security will only pay past-due benefits one year prior to the date on which the application was filed, even if they find you disabled much earlier than that. In SSI cases, you will only get paid from the date of your application.
• Original or certified copy of your birth certificate of proof of US citizenship or legal residency of foreign-born
• W-2 form or income tax return from last year
• DD 214 if discharged from the military
• Any military or workers compensation (include proof of payment)
• Medical records from all military and civilian sources
Initial application stage involves applying for SSI and/or SSDI benefits. You are free to do this on your own, however, we can help you complete the application and accompanying forms! After applying, it may take the Social Security Administration (SSA) 2 to 6 months to process your application.
If your initial application is denied, your case will be appealed and move onto Reconsideration. The Reconsideration stage involves the SSA collecting more records (if you alert them to the existence of new records) and reviewing your case. This review will generally take 1 to 5 months.
If your Reconsideration is denied, you may file another appeal. Claimants generally wait an average of 18-24 months for a hearing, after requesting one. The SSA will alert you of the time, date, and place of your hearing about six weeks to one month before the hearing. During this time we will gather evidence and prepare for your hearing.
Some judges will make a decision at the hearing. Other judges will take 6 – 8 weeks to decide. Regardless, a written decision is sent to you which explains the reasons supporting the decision. If you win, you will begin the process of being “placed in pay.” It often takes 6 to 12 weeks to get monthly benefits started, and a few months longer to get your full back award.