Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Overview

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI)

Since 1956, SSD has been an effective social insurance program. A person must have worked and paid into Social Security via payroll taxes to be eligible for benefits. In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must be found “disabled” under Social Security’s definition.

To be found disabled:

  • You must have a severe impairment.
  • You must be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition.
  • Your medical condition must have lasted or be expected to last at least one year, or be expected to result in death.

Both mental and physical impairments are considered by Social Security when evaluating disability claims. However, Congress prohibits Social Security from paying disability on the basis of alcoholism or drug addiction alone. Those who become disabled apart from alcoholism or drug addiction can be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, so long as their alcoholism or addiction is not a contributing factor material to the determination of disability.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI was signed into law by President Nixon in 1972 and works to protect low income seniors and people with severe disabilities. SSI provides people with disabilities who have limited income and resources the ability to keep a roof over their heads, and help with food and life-sustaining medications.

SSI assistance is for people who are blind, disabled, or age 65+ who also meet very strict income and asset limitations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I am approved for SSD/SSI benefits, how much will I get?

A. For SSD benefits, the amount you will receive depends on how much money you have earned in the past. For SSI benefits, a recipient’s monthly benefits amount is calculated by counting income, and the 2017 federal maximum for monthly benefits is $735. The average SSI monthly benefit amount is around $542 per month.

Q. How far back will the government pay benefits?

A. For SSD, benefits cannot be paid until the claimant has been disabled for five months, and they cannot be paid more than one year prior to the date in which the claim was filed. For SSI, benefits cannot be paid prior to the start of the month following the claim’s application filing date.

Q. If I receive SS benefits, can they be stopped?

A. Yes, Social Security can review individual cases to determine eligibility. This is known as a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). In the next few years Social Security will be completing far more reviews.

Q. If Social Security tries to cut off my benefits what can I do?

A. If SS tries to end your benefits after a CDR, you have 60 days to appeal the decision by submitting a Request for Reconsideration. You can ask that your disability benefits continue while you appeal the decision, but is important to note that you must submit your Request for Reconsideration within 10 days of receiving denial if you want your benefits to continue during the appeal.

The process to obtain Social Security benefits can be a long and frustrating one with many regulations and technicalities. A seasoned attorney can assist you throughout the course of your claim to ensure that all runs smoothly. Contact our Harrisburg Social Security Disability legal team for a free consult today.

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