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What Type of Social Security Benefits Should I Apply For? > What Type of Social Security Benefits Should I Apply For?

You may be eligible for monthly Social Security Disability or for Supplemental Security Income Benefits. Both programs use the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation test to determine if you are disabled, but the eligibility requirements differ for each program.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits or SSDI, is a government program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI is not the same as short or long term disability benefits, which you can purchase on your own or through your employer.

You become insured under the SSDI program by working and earning enough quarters of coverage.  The work year is divided into four quarters; you earn a quarter of coverage if:

  1. You earn more than $1,220 in that three-month period, and
  2. Your employer or you, if self-employed, have Social Security (FICA) withheld from your paycheck.

If you are older than 30 and disabled, you must have worked 20 out of the last 40 quarters (5 out of the last 10 years) to be insured for Social Security disability benefits.  Your insured status will continue as long as you continue to work and contribute to the SSDI program through your payroll withholdings.

However, if you become disabled and stop working, your insured status will expire five years after you stop working. That is why it is so important to file for SSDI as soon as you stop working.

The SSA will not let you apply for SSDI if you are older than 65. Once you reach age 65, SSA converts disability benefits to retirement benefits.

Early Retirement Benefits and SSDI

Some disabled individuals between the ages of 62 and 65 make the mistake of taking early retirement benefits and never apply for Social Security disability benefits.

Taking early retirement can cut your Social Security retirement benefits by over 25%. If you are disabled and between the ages of 62 and 65, you should apply both for early retirement and for SSDI. You will get your reduced retirement benefits and, if you are awarded SSDI, you will get the difference between your reduced early retirement and your SSDI benefits.

Social Security Supplemental Income Benefits (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is a federal program designed to help disabled individuals with limited assets who don’t have any or enough quarters of coverage to qualify for SSDI benefits. SSI benefits can be paid to those who are disabled, blind or are over 65.

SSI is an asset-based program and is not based on quarters of coverage. What are “assets”?  Assets include your bank accounts, investments and property. NOT COUNTED as assets are your home, the land your home is on, household goods and personal belongings, including your car.

If you have more than $2,000 in personal assets and more than $3,000 in combined assets, you are not eligible for SSI.

How We Can Help

The claims process for SSD and SSI is long, complicated and full of red tape. It is easy to make a mistake that can jeopardize your benefits. Hiring Social Security attorney Nancy L. Cavey can help you complete your Initial Application and avoid costly mistakes that can jeopardize your benefits.

If your doctor has told you that you can’t work anymore, it is time to file a claim for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. Contact Nancy L. Cavey today to learn whether you qualify for benefits. Contact our Florida Social Security disability lawyer today.

Ms. Cavey will handle your case on a contingency fee basis. If she doesn’t get you your benefits you won’t have to pay her a dime. In her free confidential consultation, She will explain the Social Security claims process, the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation used in every case and answer all your questions so you can make the right decision about filing a claim.

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