Watch: Attorney Rita Shoka explains the first steps in considering SSD/SSI benefits.
Many individuals across Michigan are disabled and unable to work. With little to no pension, no savings account and no other resources to turn to, many individuals have not worked long enough or recently enough to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration offers an additional program for those who are eligible for Social Security benefits but who have additional need due to limited resources and income for day-to-day living. Unlike Social Security Disability benefits, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program does not review length or proximity of work history in determining eligibility. Unlike SSD benefits, however, SSI claim evaluations will look at non-income assets to ensure benefits are only being provided to those who truly do not have other ways of taking care of themselves.
To be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, you must fall into one of three categories:
- Aged 65 or older
- Blind as defined by the Social Security Act as “Statutory Blindness.” This implies less than 20/2000 central visual acuity in your better eye (with glasses or contacts) or a visual field limitation in your better eye that results in a visual field of less than 20 degrees.
- Disabled, as defined by the Social Security Administration.
Who Is Considered Disabled for SSI Purposes?
For the purposes of determining eligibility for SSI benefits, the definition of “disabled” differs based on whether we are talking about an adult or a child.
For a claimant under the age of 18 to be considered disabled, he or she must have a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment” resulting in severe functional limitations that can be expected to result in death OR has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least a year. Emotional and learning problems can be considered disabling impairments if they meet the other criteria.
For claimants who are 18 or older, the criteria are similar, with one small but meaningful difference. Whereas underage claimant applications are reviewed for “severe functional limitations,” the impairment of an adult must result specifically in “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity” in order for the individual to be considered disabled.
What Is the Difference Between SSD and SSI?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is intended to provide financial support for those who are disabled or blind. Typically, in addition to proving medical need, seekers of SSDI benefits must prove eligibility in other ways, such as meeting certain thresholds for contribution to Social Security (measured in time worked) or earning below a monthly maximum.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not depend upon the individual having paid into the system through years of work. SSI benefits are intended for those who have limited income and resources and who are disabled, blind, or elderly.
We Can Help with Your SSI Claim
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg can significantly increase your odds of success in your Supplement Security Income claim. We see many clients who could have saved themselves months of frustration and waiting if only they had sought the assistance of an experience Michigan Social Security attorney while completing their initial application for benefits.
Not only can we help you understand the different ways of applying for benefits, but we will also fight hard on your behalf throughout the difficult process.
Whether you are inquiring into your eligibility for benefits, beginning the process of filing a claim, or have already been denied, we can help. We have a long history of winning cases and significant financial compensation for our clients.
Contact our experienced Michigan Social Security attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form to get started with a free consultation. As always, you pay nothing until we settle your Supplemental Security Income case.
Attorney Video Notes
When you’re thinking of filing an application for Social Security Disability, you need to make a determination first whether you are eligible. And there are two benefit programs that you can apply for: Social Security Disability Benefits for insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income.