If you cannot work due to a disability, the United States has two government assistance programs that may be able to help, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. While there is some overlap between the programs, there are also some distinctions, particularly when it comes to funding and eligibility.
Unlike SSI, SSDI funding comes from individual taxes. In addition, SSDI rules and eligibility surrounding work requirements also differ.
When it comes to SSDI eligibility, you must be able to prove that you have been unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. Typically, benefits continue until you are able to work again, however, the amount you are eligible for depends on how much you have worked in SSDI-covered jobs in the past.
The second criterion to meet SSDI eligibility qualifications is having a legitimate medical disability. To determine “disability,” the Social Security Administration asks five questions:
- Are you working?
- Is your condition severe?
- Is your condition on the SSA list of disabling conditions?
- Can you do the work you did previously?
- Can you do any other type of work?
In general, if you cannot do work because of your medical condition or you have a chronic condition that has lasted for at least one year or will result in death, you are likely eligible for SSDI.
Although being out of work due to a disability can be extremely difficult for both financial and emotional reasons, there are resources out there to help. SSDI may be what you need.