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  • What are Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income?

    Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are disability plans regulated by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

    SSDI is for those who had a relatively steady work history prior to becoming disabled. SSI is a benefit for those who may have only worked briefly, or not worked at all, prior to becoming disabled. To be eligible for SSI, you must meet the financial guidelines for Public Assistance.

  • What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

    The key difference is that SSDI benefits are available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked before or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.

    SSDI is a benefit program that is based on your work history before becoming disabled, while SSI is a needs-based benefit program for those that have only worked briefly, or never at all, before becoming disabled. You must meet financial guidelines for Public Assistance to receive SSI.

  • Who is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance?

    In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must demonstrate that you are unable to perform any work you have previously done. You must also be able to prove that there is no work available for which you could reasonably be trained given your age, education level and degree of physical and mental fitness.

    In general, you are eligible for Social Security disability if you:

    • Suffer from an injury or illness that prevents you from working for at least 12 months
    • Have worked for the last 5 of 10 years
    • Are unable to perform any regular job or work-like activity
    • Are under 66 years old
    • Have paid taxes
    • Have a diagnosis from a doctor that supports your claim
  • What are the requirements for SSDI benefits?

    To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must either be out of work or earning less than $1,220.00 per month in gross wages because of your medical conditions. Your medical conditions need to be documented through medical treatment and severe enough to keep you from performing your past work. If you are under 50 years old, you may also need to demonstrate that because of your medical conditions, you cannot perform any jobs in the national economy.

  • What are the requirements for SSI benefits?

    The requirements for SSI benefits are different for an individual than for a married couple. As a single individual, you must have less than $2,000 in resources, own only one car and own only one home. If married, you must have less than $3,000 in resources and own only one car and one home, which must be your primary residence.

    The SSI program has strict limits on the amount of income and assets you can have and still be eligible.

  • What is the SSDI process for determining whether you are disabled?

    The Social Security definition of disability is based on your inability to work for a long period of time. You are considered disabled and eligible  if you meet the following conditions:

    • You are not working at all or earning less than $1,220 per month
    • Your condition is so severe that it interferes with work-related activities you must perform to do your job
    • You are unable to do the work you did prior to becoming disabled
    • You are not able to perform other types of work that your background may have prepared you to perform

    It is vital to note that this is a simple explanation and does not take into account special situations that may make you eligible for disability benefits even if you have not fulfilled all the above conditions.

  • How long do you have to be disabled before applying?

    In order to be approved for SSDI, you will need to demonstrate that your disability is expected to last at least one year or be life ending. You will also need to demonstrate that you are unable to perform any substantial gainful activity, meaning that you cannot work eight hours per day, five days per week on a consistent basis.

    However, you should apply as soon as you believe you may have a long-term disability because there are delays between applying and receiving benefits. There are certain requirements regarding the expected length of disability and certain waiting periods during which benefits are not payable.

  • Will my workers’ compensation benefits be affected if I receive Social Security disability?

    It depends on your circumstances. In some cases, there are offsets (reductions) against your Social Security disability benefits for workers’ compensation benefits you have received during the same time.

    This must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by an  appropriate attorney. Generally speaking, Veterans Administration benefits and private pension benefits do not offset (reduce) Social Security disability benefits.

  • How can you afford a lawyer when you are applying for SSDI because of financial problems?

    There is no fee unless our Social Security disability lawyers are successful in obtaining benefits for you.

    If successful, the Social Security Administration pays your lawyer a percentage of your lump-sum benefits, as dictated by the Social Security Act. There is no out-of-pocket cost to you.

  • How do I pay my student loans if I’m found disabled?

    If you have suffered an injury or medical condition that prevents you from working for an indefinite period of time, you may be eligible to cancel any student loans you have. If you have a student loan you took out before July 1, 1993, you may be able to defer loan payments for up to three years if you can show that you, your spouse or a dependent has suffered from a temporary total disability.

    Under new U.S. Department of Education guidelines, those who have borrowed federal loans may be eligible to have their Title IV federal loans forgiven.

  • What is a trial work period?

    The Social Security Administration allows you nine trial work months during any five-year period. Generally, you will not be entitled to another trial work period once you have used these nine months.

    However, there are a few exceptions to keep in mind. Did your disability benefits end because you started working? Did you later qualify for benefits again? Have five years or more have passed since your trial work period?

  • How long does it take for you to start collecting benefits?

    Obtaining Social Security disability benefits can be a long, confusing and tedious process. It typically takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months.

    At Pond Lehocky Disability, however, you will be guided through the process as quickly and effectively as possible.