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Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Programs

Updated on May 1, 2013

Social Security Application

Understanding Social Security Programs

There are two programs administered by the Social Security Administration that offer benefits to qualifying individuals, Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability programs. The first, Social Security Disability, provides benefits to individuals and certain members of their families. Eligibility for this program is based on time spent working and social security taxes paid. The other program, Supplemental Security Income, will pay some benefits based on a qualified individuals need financially.

When applying for one of these programs, there is a series of questions that are used to determine an individual’s need. The first question is about employment. An individual who is working and earning $1,040 or more per month will not qualify. If you are unemployed, or do not make $1,040 per month, the next determinant will be whether or not an individual’s condition affects the ability to complete basic work activities. If the condition hinders the ability to work, the next step is determine whether or not the affecting condition is one of the set listed medical conditions for the different major body systems. If the condition is not on the list, that does not automatically disqualify the individual, but it must be further looked into to determine severity and whether it truly affects the ability to do work. The final factor before an individual is determined eligible or ineligible is if they can do any other type of work. The Social Security Administration will consider age, education and past work experience in addition to an individual’s medical condition.

Now that you are aware of criteria used to determine eligibility, what if you are not approved but feel that you should have been? The first thing that could be done is filing a disability appeal. The individual can do this without any type of legal representation. The other option would be to hire a social security disability attorney to assist with this process. There are several benefits of hiring someone to represent you. These include working with an individual who is an expert on the rules and regulations of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. They are also familiar with the process of filing an appeal and have the same interest at heart, getting an individual approved for one of these programs.

Depending on your specific condition, you may qualify for either Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. If you feel you meet the criteria, to get started with the process, fill out an application online.


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