The United States Federal Government has two programs that provide monetary assistance to disabled individuals: Social Security Disability Insurance (also known as SSDI or Title II benefits) and Supplemental Security Income (also known as SSI or Title XVI benefits).
How we prove that an adult is disabled is the same for both programs (more on that in another blog post, I promise). However, a person may quality for one or both programs.
Title II Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is based on what you pay in while you are working. This is a bit oversimplified, but SSDI is a disability insurance policy that the federal government forces you take out and pay into while you are working. The rule of thumb is that you must work 5 of the last 10 years to have paid in enough to qualify for SSDI benefits. A person’s monthly benefit amount is based upon wages and the amount he or she paid in while working. For example, a person earning minimum wage will have a lower SSDI check than a person who earned six figures.
Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the program available to those who have not paid in enough to qualify for SSDI. It is needs-based. Upon applying for benefits, the Social Security Administration will do a thorough check of your assets, resources, and income. If you have too much in the bank, you will be disqualified from receiving SSI. A broad example is that if a person is married and his or her spouse works full time, it is unlikely that person will qualify for SSI because of the spouse’s income. SSI is paid on a sliding scale depending on need and can fluctuate from month to month.
A person can qualify for both programs. I typically see this if the person applying for disability benefits is single and has primarily earned around minimum wage for the period of time leading up to the filing of the claim.
If you think you might qualify for one or both of these programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Martin Law Firm offers free consultations. We are located in Fayetteville, but we represent people all over the state of Arkansas and into Oklahoma and Missouri.