The Two Largest Federal Programs that are Designed to Provide Cash Benefits to Certain Disabled Citizens in the U.S.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two large programs introduced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956 and 1974, respectively. These programs are designed to provide cash benefits to people with disabilities.

Despite both programs falling under the management of the SSA, each address different disability needs and have different requirements for qualification. SSDI, for instance, pays benefits to qualified SS insured members who may be 65 years old or below and who are also totally disabled. To qualify for payment, a member must meet the following requirements:

  • Had worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes while employed (these taxes are automatically deducted from workers’ monthly pay and are reflected in employees’ payslip under the heading FICA,which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act ;
  • Has earned the number of credits required by the SSA (workers earn four credits annually); and,
  • Is suffering from total disability which renders him/her (i) unable to perform his/her previous work, as well as any other work, due to the medical condition. This disability can also be expected to last for a year or more, or it can result in death.

A list medical conditions or an impairment listing manual or blue book, has been drawn up by the SSA; finding one’s disability in this list will automatically include him/her in the roster of disabled insured SS members. Not finding one’s health condition in the list, however, will require an evaluation by Social Security to determine if health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program is designed to provide non-taxable cash benefits to citizens who are, at least, 65 years old, blind or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources do not exceed the amount set under the federal benefit rate (FBR) which is determined by the federal government.

SSI provides non-taxable financial assistance to Americans, who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government. Earning of credits and employment in an SS covered job are not qualifying requirement under the SSI program (due to this, even children may be qualified to receive SSI cash benefits).

The primary intent of SSI benefits is to help provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. These basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. In some states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

As explained by the firm Hankey Law Office,though disability benefits vary by amount and duration, these remain to be a sure and reliable source of income that can make a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. Thus, it may be best that applicants for this benefit be assisted by skilled SS benefit attorneys to make sure that all records pertinent to the application are prepared and submitted on time.

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