We think that having a disability or helping someone with a disability can be hard enough.
With this in mind we want to make it as easy as possible to understand how to get some financial help if you’re disabled or want to help someone who’s disabled.
This is our mission at SSIC.org.
SSIC.org is published by ordinary people who are passionate about helping people with disabilities understand the financial help available to them.
We are not the government and we are not lawyers.
Why is this important?
Personally, we’ve got no problem with the government or with (most) lawyers. It’s just that government officials and lawyers are sometimes just so hard to understand.
We know government departments mean well when they publish information. It’s just that they usually like to use a lot of jargon and confusing words.
As for lawyers, they can be a helpful bunch, too, but they have their own language and they’re often caught up in arguing and fighting about things.
Sometimes you don’t want to argue, fuss or fight.
Sometimes you just want to get simple answers to simple questions.
We want to help you to do that.
What’s SSIC.org all about?
SSIC.org is really about two types of disability benefits:
- SSI benefits
- SSDI benefits.
Both of these benefits are monthly payments administered by the United States Social Security Administration. If you’re disabled you may be able to qualify to receive one or both of these benefits (though it’s unusual for people to be able to qualify to receive both at the same time).
What are SSI benefits?
SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income.
SSI benefits are known as ‘needs-based support payments’ or ‘welfare payments’. This means you may be able to qualify for SSI benefits if you’re disabled and if you don’t have any other money.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly benefit for people who:
- don’t receive much income
- don’t have a lot of other financial resources
- are blind, disabled or over 65 years old.
Blind and disabled children can also receive SSI benefits if their parents income and resources are below the SSI limits.
What are SSDI benefits?
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance.
SSDI is not a pure welfare program like SSI. In other words, you can receive SSDI benefits even if you receive other income from somewhere else.
SSDI benefits are available for people who have been working and paying taxes into the Social Security system for a long enough period of time. If you’ve been working and paying taxes, but had to stop working because of a disability, you might qualify to receive SSDI payments.
How can I work out if I qualify for SSI or SSDI?
To find out whether you qualify to receive SSI or SSDI benefits, you ultimately need to call your local Social Security office.
In the meantime, here’s a little bit of information to help you understand what some of the tests are.
Test 1: Disability test
The first test for both SSI and SSDI benefits is whether you are disabled. This can be a pretty complicated thing to work out, but ultimately it comes down to whether you are able to work.
Being disabled for the purposes of SSI & SSDI benefits means that you are no longer able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) as the result of a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least 12 months, or possibly result in death.
Test 2: SSDI work test
You might qualify to receive SSDI benefits if you are ‘disabled’ under the first test and if you have worked before.
To receive SSDI payments you have to pass two work tests:
- you have to have worked enough
- you have to have worked recently.
Test 3: SSI income test
You might qualify for SSI benefits if you are ‘disabled’ under the first test, but you don’t qualify for SSDI under the employment test (for example, because you haven’t worked enough or you haven’t worked recently).
There are actually two financial tests to qualify to receive SSI payments:
- your household income must be low enough
- you have to have very few assets.
How do I apply for SSI or SSDI?
When you’re ready to talk to someone from your local Social Security office, go to the Contact Us page from the SSA website to find the national toll-free number.
What should I read next?
The purpose of this page is just to give you a very quick, easy overview of SSI & SSDI benefits. We know you have a lot more questions and a lot more you want to know.
We invite you to read more of our articles here at SSIC.org, but which articles should you read? Of course, that really depends on what questions you have.
You can always type your question into the search bar at the top right-hand-side of the site!
Otherwise, try our Recent Articles list or one of the Article Categories in the side-bar.
If you’re still unsure about the basics, try reading a bit more about SSI & SSDI benefits by reading some of these popular articles: