How serious does my condition have to be for me to get Social Security Disability or SSI?
The Social Security Administration defines disability as any physical or mental problem that prevents you from working; the condition must be expected to last at least a year, or result in death. Unlike some programs, Social Security does not pay for partial or short-term disability. It is intended to provide income for you and your family when you are unable to do any type of work for which your are suited. If you’ve worked under Social Security in the past, and are now disabled, you or your dependents may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. If you win your claim, you will receive checks each month. Benefits will continue for as long as you are disabled and cannot resume work. A person can receive Social Security Disability at any age. If you are getting disability benefits, at age 65 they become retirement benefits, but the amount stays the same. If you are 62 or over and disabled, you should file for both disability and retirement.
SSI is short for supplemental security income. It is available to those who are disabled and have little income or resources.
To qualify for SSI benefits, you must meet the same medical requirements as for Social Security Disability. Both programs use the same standards to determine if you have a disability. However, SSI is not dependent upon your work record. Instead, you must meet certain conditions, such as having limited income, and few resources. In general, a single person can own $2,000 worth of items other than their home and the lot it is on. A couple is allowed $3,000 worth of goods. However, many things don’t count toward your SSI limit: your furniture, personal property and car may not count, depending on how much they’re worth. However, stocks, bonds, and all bank accounts do figure in to the limit. If you receive cash, groceries, free rent or other gifts, these can also affect your eligibility for SSI benefits. To find out more about what’s allowed, and if you might qualify for SSI, contact the Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213.
If you have difficulty with a disability claim, and live in North or South Carolina, please call us toll free at 1-800-775-3985 or click here to e-mail us.