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SSI and SSDI under the Social Security Act

10th August 2009
By Mesriani Law Group in Law
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The original Social Security Act did not even include disability benefits when it was first passed. It provided social security for old age, poverty, unemployment and the burdens of widows and fatherless children.

The Social Security Act was pushed by President Roosevelt’s economic committee as an attempt to limit what was seen at that time as dangers to the modern American life.

The original Social Security Act also provided assistance to aged individuals, unemployed individuals, families with dependent children, maternal and child welfare, public health services, and the blind.

Social Security disability was not added until amendments on the Social Security Act during the 1950s and the Supplemental Security income not until the 1970s.

Now together with retirement and survivor’s benefits, disability insurance has become one of the biggest programs implemented and administered by the Social Security Administration.

The two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration are Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI and Supplement Security Income or SSI respectively.

The Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal insurance program that provides income for employees who sustained disabling injuries that prevent them from engaging in income generating activities.

The Social Security Disability is credit based, meaning that the claimant must attain sufficient credits through sufficient contributions of Social Security taxes and having been able to work for a certain number of years (usually within 10 years before disabling injury).

To be eligible, the claimant should:

• Have a disabling injury or condition that prevents him/her from doing any substantial gainful activity

• Have a disabling condition or injury that is expected to last for at least 12 months or may result in death

• Be under the age of 65

• Have generally worked 5 out of the last 10 years

There is a more lenient provision though for employees who do not meet the required work period if they sustained the disabling injury before that are able to meet the requirement.

The same goes for applicants who sustained disabling injuries before the age of 22. They would be able to collect on their parents credits without affecting their parent’s benefits.

Supplemental Security Income on the other hand is a federal disability insurance that provides a monthly stipend for those who are qualified through means-testing and their medical condition.

It has almost the same criteria for qualification with SSDI except that employment and social security taxes contribution are removed from the picture.

Instead, the claimant should have limited income and resources to qualify for the program.

Generally the claimant should prove that his/her resources are below the limit which is $2,000 for single individuals and $3,000 for individuals with a spouse.


The Social Security Administration has a list of medical conditions that when met automatically considers the claimant as disabled.
If not, then their residual functional capacity, age, past work and education will be considered in determining their capacity to perform their past work or another work available in the economy.

To help you in the process, a social security disability attorney should be able to help in preparing a winning claim and represent you in an administrative law judge hearing if necessary.

Our social security law attorneys provide legal assistance in filing for social security act and disability benefits. For consultation, visit our website and dial our toll free number.
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