Social Security Disability (SSD)
Social Security provides disability insurance which is referred to as Social Security Disability benefits for workers and their eligible family members, in addition to retirement benefits. If employees have worked and paid Social Security taxes, then they are eligible to receive a disability benefit. This benefit provides an income for you in the event that you are unable to work due to a disability or blindness.
Benefits are also provided for a spouse and any children who are under the age of 18 when an individual becomes disabled. In the event of the disabled worker’s death, Social Security provides Survivor benefits for the spouse and any children who are under the age of 18. The worker must have accrued the required number of work credits in order to be eligible to receive disability insurance. The number of work credits that a worker must earn change each year. Contact your local Social Security office for the current earnings and work credits requirements.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income is provided for individuals who have not paid any or enough taxes into the Social Security system, and are in need of financial assistance due to illness or disability. These benefits are not provided by Social Security taxes. Instead, these benefits are paid from the Federal Government’s general tax revenues to assist elderly, blind or disabled persons who have no income or not enough income for survival.
Supplemental Security Income provides a benefit for these persons to meet their living expenses. A child under the age of 18 who is disabled is also eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income. Children are reevaluated at the age of 18 for eligibility to receive benefits as an adult.
What is the Difference Between Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income?
Both benefits are administered by Social Security Administration; however, some states also provide Supplemental Security Income benefits in addition to those provided by the Government. Another primary difference is that Social Security Disability benefits are based upon a worker’s earnings, and Supplemental Security Income benefits are fixed amounts decided upon by the Government. Social Security Disability benefits are only paid for permanent disability. Supplemental Security Income is based on financial need.
If you have paid taxes into Social Security and have enough quarters, then you are able to draw Social Security Disability benefits. If you have not paid taxes into the Social Security system and become disabled, then Supplemental Security Income is available for disabled persons who have no substantial income.
What to Do if You are Denied Social Security Disability
When you are denied Social Security Disability benefits, you are given the opportunity to appeal that decision. If the worker was represented by an attorney when filing the initial claim, that attorney will handle filing the appeal. The worker can file the appeal himself or hire an attorney to handle the appeal process.
You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits in person at your local Social Security Office, or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or apply online at the Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration. If you are hard of hearing, call the toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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