If you are concerned about how to file a Social Security Administration (SSA) claim, it is important to understand the different types of claims. There are two types of Social Security benefits for which a claimant can apply, SSI Supplemental Security Income and SSDI (Social Security Disability Income).

Many people think that these two programs are essentially the same, however, they are two completely separate government social programs. If you need to file for Social Security benefits, a skilled social security attorney can assist you in filing a complete and thorough application.

What is Social Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based program funded by the general tax fund.  This monthly compensation benefit is determined exclusively on financial need, not on work history or the occurrence of disability. An individual claimant must have $2,000 or less in assets and a married couple must have $3,000 or less in assets and be on a limited income. Claimants who are eligible for SSI are also likely to qualify for Medicaid through their state and possibly food stamps.

The Social Security Administration uses a Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool questionnaire to help applicants determine if they qualify. It is difficult for many applicants to qualify for SSI. Applicants must be at least 65 years old or disabled or blind and have quite limited resources.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance recipients must have a qualifying number of years of work. Applicants for SSDI must be 65 years or younger, have a qualifying severe disability, and have enough qualifying work credits. Claimants must have made contributions to the Social Security Administration’s trust form in the form of FICA Social Security Taxes.

Only adults over the age of 18 are entitled to receive SSDI disability benefits. However, disabled SSDI recipient’s children and spouses may be eligible to receive auxiliary benefits which are partial dependent benefits.

SSDI Work Credits

The amount of work credits that an applicant needs depends on how old they are when they become disabled. IF someone is 50 years old when they become disabled, they will need 28 work credits. 28 work credits amount to approximately seven years of work. At least five of the working years need to have occurred within the last 10 years.

SSDI Benefits Have a Five-Month Waiting Period

Many people do not realize that the SSA will not pay SSDI benefits for the first five months after the claimant becomes disabled. Successful applicants receive differing amounts of SSDI. The amount of monthly income from SSI depends on the applicant’s previous earning records. This aspect of SSDI is similar to SSI benefit.

Filing an Appeal

When the SSA denies an applicant's SSDI or SSI claim, the applicant can file an appeal. The SSA offers the following four levels of appeal:

  • Reconsideration
  • An administrative law judge hearing
  • Appeals Council Review
  • Review by a federal court

The requirements for SSDI and SSI are unique. If you need assistance filing a Social Security claim, a skilled social security attorney can help.