There are many people who suffer from severe impairments that make them unable to work. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not evaluate the severity of the impairment until the claimant’s technical eligibility is addressed. There are two programs that SSA pays disability benefits through, but many people do not understand the technical eligibility aspect.
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), also called SSDI, is based off of an individual’s work history. The SSA looks to a credit based system to determine if one qualifies for DIB. The amount of credits an individual needs will vary depending on the age of the person. An important thing to understand is that a person may be eligible under this program at one point, but that eligibility does not last forever. A claimant must have worked long enough and recent enough to qualify. An Individual will run into problems when he has long gaps in his work history or if it has been a long time since he last worked.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program. The claimant can be found eligible if he never worked a day in his life, but his financial situation must show a need for the benefit. The technical requirements for eligibility vary depending on whether the claimant is married or single, but both can only have a certain amount of assets to qualify. A single person is limited to having a maximum of $2,000 in assets, where as a married person can have $3,000 in assets. Certain assets such as the home a person lives in and a vehicle are excluded from this calculation. Additionally, one applying for SSI should be aware that a spouse’s income could disqualify a claimant for SSI.
If the technical requirements are not satisfied, then it does not matter how severe an individual’s impairment is because he will not be eligible for disability benefits. To get a better understanding of these two programs, it is beneficial to meet with an experienced disability attorney.