There are two types of Social Security Insurance, (1) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and (2) Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI).

Social Security Disability Insurance aids disabled persons who are unable to work. Working more than the required number of years and paying Social Security Taxes (FICA) qualifies you for SSDI. Precisely, you need to have received a certain number of work credits; you can earn up to four work credits per year.

If you have not worked long enough and are low income, you can apply for SSI instead. How many work credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits is dependent on what age you were when you became disabled.

You also must have a medical problem that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. SSDI benefits are available only to those with a severe, long-term, or total disability. “Severe” means that your illness or condition must interfere with basic job activities. A year is the amount of time that makes a disability “Long Term.” “Total disability” means that you are not able to perform “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) for at least one year.

If you are employed and make over a certain amount of money ($1,170 per month in 2017 for disabled people and $1,950 for blind people), the SSA will determine that you are can perform SGA and that you are not eligible for SSDI benefits.

First Time Social Security Insurance Applicants

SSDI benefits do not kick in for five months after an application is approved. Payments take a full five months to start. Applications with immediate approval also have to wait.

However, usually, applications are not approved for about six months to a year and at least one appeal. Therefore, when you are finally approved, you will receive disability back pay starting with the sixth month after your disability began.

Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) affords financial support to persons with low income and resources who are also unable to work. Unlike SSDI, someone may be eligible to receive SSI based solely on their financial need, regardless of their employment history. However, the SSI program is hard to qualify for, as it has very low-income and asset allowances.

The SSI program’s monthly payment amount is based on the “federal benefit rate” (FBR). In 2017, the maximum FBR is set at $735 per month for individuals and $1,103 for couples. Income received during the month, minus particular exclusions, may be subtracted from the federal monthly SSI payment. Additionally, you may be eligible for state monthly payments. In addition to the federal benefits, a state supplement may be available. The amount of the state supplement vary.

Appealing the Denial of Social Security Insurance

Most applications for Social Security Insurance including SSDI and SSI are initially denied, despite the fact that many of the requests have merit. Statistically, 70% of all SSDI and SSI claims are denied after the initial phase. If your application for SSDI or SSI is denied, the next step is to appeal the denial. To do this, when you receive the denial letter, you have to request a review by 60 days. In most states, the first step of the appeal process is to file a Request for Reconsideration. This is a review of your Social Security file by a claims examiner. An application that is denied more than once will require an SSA judge to look at the case.

The Benefits of Hiring a Social Security Insurance Attorney

Hiring a Social Security Insurance attorney can greatly increase your chances of getting disability benefits. Attorneys will file the proper paperwork. Working with a lawyer enhances the chance of receiving an approved application. Attorneys understand how to present a case in the light most favorable to their clients and argue on their behalf.

At the reconsideration and hearing levels, your lawyer can collect and submit relevant medical evidence, and obtain opinions from your doctor. An attorney can also draft detailed briefs to submit to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), prepare for the hearing, and get useful evidence from you and your medical experts at the hearing. Your attorney may also assist in hiring or cross-examining Job Experts or Medical Experts to show the judge that you are unable to work. During the Appeals Council and federal court stages of appeal, a lawyer can make legal arguments to show that SSA wrongly denied the claim.

An attorney may be able to move the case quickly through the system, especially if the medical disorder is terminal or a financial situation is very bad. The attorney may file with the court a request for an “on-the-record” (OTR) decision. If approved, you could obtain benefits without a hearing.

This process is as complicated as it seems and you’re going to want some help. Seeking professional help is a good idea. Find a local Social Security Lawyer with experience. Having someone that knows the laws is important. They can quickly guide you in the right direction.