Types of SSD Benefits

If you have a disability, you might wonder whether you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. People who can no longer work due to a physical or cognitive disability may be eligible for benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSD benefits are available to those with disabilities, but the eligibility requirements vary depending on the program. For more information, contact an SSD attorney who can explain the different types of SSD benefits available and help you determine whether you qualify. 

What Types of SSD Benefits Are Available? 

The SSA provides disability benefits to individuals with a qualifying disability and, in some cases, their family members. The following benefits are administered under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program:

  • Social Security Disability Benefits – SSDI benefits are paid to qualified individuals with a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from working full-time for a year or more. The amount of benefits is based on the disabled worker’s earning history.
  • Social Security Dependent Benefits – These benefits are paid to the spouse of a disabled worker who qualifies for SSDI benefits, including same-sex spouses. The spouse must be at least 62 years old or caring for the worker’s child under age 17. Minor children and children who became disabled before age 22 can also collect dependent benefits. These benefits are based on the worker’s earning record. There is a cap per family. 
  • Social Security Survivor Benefits – Widows and widowers can receive benefits if their spouse qualified for SSDI, based on their deceased’s spouse’s earning record. They can begin collecting these benefits once they reach age 60 or age 50 if they are also disabled. Survivors’ benefits for children work the same as child dependent benefits. 

Additionally, if you are approved for SSDI, you will begin receiving Medicare after a 24-month waiting period. 

What Is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

The SSA provides disability benefits through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs have different eligibility requirements, but both the SSDI and SSI programs require applicants to demonstrate that they suffer a physical or cognitive condition that prevents them from working and is likely to last at least twelve months or result in death. 

SSDI eligibility requires a work history that demonstrates the worker has sufficiently paid into the Social Security system because SSDI benefits come from Social Security funds. Workers can obtain a “work credit” each calendar quarter by earning a certain threshold of income subject to Social Security tax. The number of work credits an applicant needs to qualify for SSDI depends on the applicant’s age, with younger workers requiring fewer credits. Applicants must also have a recent work history, which usually means having worked at least five of the past ten years. The SSDI benefit amount depends on their qualifying earnings before their disability.

On the other hand, the SSI program provides benefits for individuals who are blind, elderly, or have a disability and have little or no income and assets. Work history is not required to apply for SSI. Instead, applicants must prove that their income and assets fall below the thresholds set by the Social Security Administration. Recipients receive a benefit payment equal to the federal government’s monthly benefit amount. Their benefit amount can be reduced by other sources of income they receive. 

How Do I Ensure I Receive All of the Benefits I Am Entitled To?

The SSA denies many SSD benefits applications on initial review because the SSA uses a strict definition of disability to ensure that resources go to people who need them the most. Working with an SSD attorney can be helpful because they are familiar with the claims process and the evidence you will need to support your claim. An attorney can determine which benefits you may qualify for and help you prepare a comprehensive and persuasive application. Your lawyer can also advocate on your behalf if you pursue administrative hearings to challenge an initial denial of your application. An SSD attorney may also be able to advise you on other benefits you may qualify for while on Social Security Disability, such as Medicare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or state supplemental payments.

Contact Our SSD Attorneys Today

If you have any questions about the types of SSD benefits you might qualify for, contact Disability Law Group today for a consultation to speak with our SSD attorneys. Our firm can help you pursue the financial benefits you need after you’ve suffered a permanent disability.

Author: Erika A. Riggs

Attorney Erika A. Riggs, a partner at Disability Law Group, is a renowned legal advocate and community leader. A graduate of Wayne State University Law School, Erika co-founded The 313 Project, a non-profit providing scholarships and pro-bono legal advice for at-risk youth. She actively contributes to community well-being as a board member and community activist, spearheading pro bono events and volunteer initiatives. Erika specializes in Social Security Disability and Veterans’ disability benefits. Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Erika has received accolades such as the ‘Oakland Together 40 Under 40’ Class of 2023, 2022 ABA On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyer award, eight consecutive Avvo’s Client Choice awards, and the esteemed 2023 Rising Star award for the sixth consecutive year by Super Lawyers (extended to less than 2.5% of attorneys practicing in Michigan). Her multifaceted achievements showcase her commitment to excellence, community service, and advocacy for those in need.