From local and state governments to the federal government, there are a lot of public programs offered to the American people that can do everything from offering help with buying groceries to finding affordable housing. But there are two programs that we here at Crowe & Shanahan concern ourselves with the most: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
Although we have a lot of experience working with these two programs and helping people get the benefits they need and deserve, we realize that many of our readers may be confused by the categories. In fact, there are a lot of people across Missouri and Illinois -- and even the entire nation -- who don't know that there is a difference between these two programs. Worse still, many more do not even know what benefits these programs can provide.
To help our readers understand the difference between these two programs, we'd first like to ask you a question: have you maintained employment for at least 10 years over the course of your life and about 5 years of the last 10? If you answered yes, then you have met one of the requirements necessary to receive SSDI in the event that you become disabled due to injury or illness. The payments you can receive through this program are based on your average lifetime earnings through employment.
What about if you have never worked or do not meet the 10-year minimum of SSDI? Can you still collect benefits if you have a disability or become disabled at some point during your life?
The answer is yes! This is where SSI comes into play. This program also offers disability benefits but this time to people who may not have the employment history necessary to qualify for SSDI benefits. However, these benefits are onlyavailable to those with very little income or assest. The rules about what counts and what doesn't are complicated.
As you may already know, the laws governing Social Security are vast and highly complex. Most people only have a vague understanding of the system before applying for benefits, which does them little good when they encounter a complicated legal question for which they don't have an answer. In situations such as this, a lawyer may be necessary in order to understand the law and get your application on the right path to approval.
Source: The Social Security Administration, "2014 Red Book," Accessed Jan. 22, 2015