SSI Application for Disability Benefits
What is SSI disability, how do you file for it, and how do you win SSI benefits?
SSI stands for supplemental security income and disability benefits through SSI are mandated through title 16 of the social security act. SSI disability is, in most respects no different from social security disability benefits.
How are the two programs the same? With both SSI and SSD, you file an application with the social security administration and your case goes off to a state agency that has the responsibility of determining whether or not you are disabled according to SSA guidelines. In most states, this agency is known as DDS, or disability determination services (in some states, it is known as the bureau of disability determination or the disability determination division).
For both SSI and social security disability, the disability criteria is exactly the same. There are no differences whatsoever. And in either case, if a claimant is denied, they may utilize the same appeal system.
Now, how are the two federal disability programs different?
Here's how. SSI is a need based program available to disabled children and to adults (who either do not qualify for SSD or qualify for SSD but would only receive a small monthly SSD benefit amount). As a need based program, SSI takes into account certain factors that social security disability does not. For instance, SSI considers the assets you may have. Currently, to meet the non medical qualifications for SSI, an applicant cannot have more than two thousand dollars in countable assets.
With social security disability, there is no asset provision for eligibility.
Another distinguishing difference between SSI and social security disability is the counting of family income. With social security disability, the income of a spouse is irrelevant. However, with SSI the income of a spouse may be deemed (in other words, counted partially) and this may affect one's eligibility to receive SSI benefits. Likewise, a child who is disabled may or may not be able to receive SSI based on the income level of his or her parents.
A final and very important difference between filing an SSI application for disability versus a social security disability application is this:
You cannot actually submit an SSI disability application online at the social security administration website. Yes, you can submit information, but this only counts as a lead (yes, this is what field office staff actually call this) and someone from a local social security office will have to contact you about getting an SSI disability application started. In other words, if you think you are getting an SSI application started when you use the social security administration website, you're really not and you are not receiving the benefit of protective filing.
When it comes to SSD, or social security disability, the matter is completely different. You can actually file online at the SSA site and have it count as an application with protective filing.
However...even if you do this you will still, in most cases, have to be contacted by a local social security field office to A. clarify information, B. fill in gaps you might have left with regard to your application, and C. Be notified that release forms (SSA-827 release forms which are used for gathering your medical records) will sent out to you and that these need to be returned.
Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog
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