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Monday, April 25, 2011

Illinois Legal Aid | Disabilities Guidebook: Social Security Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

What Is It? Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an insurance program that provides income to workers who become "disabled" (or who retire), and to their dependents and survivors. Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) is a needs-based program that provides a basic income for people with disabilities who meet specific low-income guidelines.

Where to Apply? The Social Security Administration local office in your area, or by calling toll-free 1-800-772-1213.

Who May Be Eligible? Social Security: workers who become "disabled" (or who are at least 62 years old), and their spouses, and dependents of workers who are "disabled" (or retired or deceased). SSI: People of any age who are needy and are blind or "disabled" (or who are at least 65 years old).

Your Legal Rights

  • The Differences Between Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI
  • The Social Security Administration
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal government agency that administers benefits for people with disabilities. Although SSA also runs programs for people of retirement age, the focus of this section is on people with disabilities.

People with disabilities may be eligible under either the "Social Security Disability Insurance" (SSDI) program, or the "Supplemental Security Income" (SSI) program. When you apply for benefits, the Social Security Administration will inform you whether your benefits will come from SSI, SSDI or both.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an Insurance Program
Most workers pay into Social Security while they are working. Your pay stub will show deductions for FICA, which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. These deductions are the "premiums" or money which you pay into the Social Security system. Your employer also makes a contribution on your behalf, equal to your contribution.

To become eligible for SSDI disability benefits, you must have worked for a minimum length of time before claiming benefits. The amount of time depends on your age at the time you become "disabled." If you become "disabled" before reaching age 22, you may be able to receive SSDI benefits based on the earnings record of your parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent, if they receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits or if they are deceased.

The amount of SSDI benefits you receive is based on the amount of your contributions. If you became "disabled" before age 22 and are receiving benefits based on the earnings record of a parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent, your SSDI benefit will be one half of their benefit amount.

If you are found eligible for SSDI, you may be entitled to a retroactive benefit. In general, you are entitled to receive benefits going back to the first month following the end of a "waiting period."

The waiting period is the 5 month period starting with the first month in which you were both insured for disability and "disabled." However, the waiting period can start no earlier than the 17th month before the month you apply, no matter how long you were "disabled" before then.

Many Resources available at Illinois Legal aid:

Info & policies change from Social Security, always check for updates: http://www.ssa.gov/

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