Social Security Disability Law
Social Security Disability law consists of the rules used to decide who will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and how much money they will receive. Because these are federal programs, state and local laws do not apply.
SSDI benefits are meant for adults who become disabled and unable to work for at least one year. Benefits are only available to those who have paid a sufficient amount into the system (through payroll taxes), and have not yet reached retirement age. Dependents of people receiving SSDI may qualify for benefits as well.
SSI serves a different purpose. It is designed for disabled people with little or no income, regardless of whether they have paid anything into the system.
Eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSI are very specific. For SSDI, the threshold qualification involves the number of “work credits” the applicant has accumulated prior to becoming disabled. Work credits are based on the applicant’s earnings.
To receive SSDI, the applicant must also be “disabled.” SSA considers people to be disabled if they cannot work in their field or adjust to another field of employment, due to a severe medical impairment. An applicant may qualify based on a single impairment, or a combination. Either way, the inability to work must be complete, and long-term.
For SSI, eligibility is based on income level, not work credits. An applicant must have an income level below a certain amount known as the federal benefit rate, or “FBR”.
There is nothing wrong with filing an initial disability claim on your own. But if your claim is denied and you decide to appeal, your chances of success will greatly improve if you hire a lawyer. Contact an experienced NY Social Security Disability attorney now to learn more.