Disability Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions

Social Security disability benefits can seem convoluted, and many recipients want to know how their benefits can be affected by other factors.

Here, we try to answer the most common questions that many people may have about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Se Habla Español. Si usted tiene preguntas sobre beneficios de seguro por incapacidad, llame al 833-MI-DISABILITY o envíenos un correo electrónico a info@ndallc.com.

1. What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal cash benefits program for those with disabilities and qualifying work history.
Monthly cash payments are determined by how long the claimants has worked and the amount that has been paid into Social Security. An individual can collect Social Security either through one’s own work history or through that of a family member (typically a spouse or parent).

2. What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based cash benefits program intended for those who have disabilities or are over 65 years old.

Recipients of monthly SSI payments have very little income or financial resources. The program places a cap on how much income a recipient can receive per month in order to qualify for SSI benefits.

3. How do I get disability benefits?

To get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, one has to apply for either SSDI or SSI and qualify for the problem for which one has applied.

The Social Security Administration sets specific criteria for someone to be considered “disabled.” This criteria takes into account the effect a disability or multiple disabilities have on one’s ability to do basic tasks, an individual’s work history up to that point, and the person’s ability to transition into other work.

A person’s age, education and work history is taken into account. For example, a person with limited education may not easily get certain jobs that, while not physically strenuous, require a certain level of education.

4. Can I get retroactive disability benefits?

Not everyone is eligible for retroactive benefits. Retroactive benefits are money amounts paid for the months you were disabled, but before the filing date of your benefits. Past due benefits, on the other hand, are cash amounts that you are owed from your filing date onward.

If you are eligible for SSDI, you may be able to receive retroactive benefits up to 12 months from the filing date.

However, SSI recipients will not get retroactive benefits. SSI benefits can only get past due benefits from the filing date onward.

5. Which benefits can I receive concurrently?

It is possible to receive SSDI and SSI concurrently. However, getting SSDI payments can reduce your SSI payment or make you ineligible, depending on how much SSDI cash you are getting.

6. Why would my disability benefits be suspended?

The most common reasons for losing your disability benefits are

1) generating income high enough to be “substantial gainful activity,

2) recovering from a condition that was considered a disability,

3) you stop treatment for your condition, or

4) you become incarcerated.

7. How does unemployment affect my benefits?

Unemployment benefits can affect your SSDI or SSI benefits. Please speak to a disability agent to learn more. You may call us at 833-MY-DISABILITY.

8. Will worker’s compensation affect my benefits?

Worker’s compensation may affect your SSDI benefits if the compensation and SSDI together exceeds 80% of your average current earnings before you became disabled.

The amount of worker’s compensation may affect your eligibility for SSI, as SSI is a needs-based program with eligibility being determined by your financial resources.

9. Why would my disability benefits be reduced?

Your SSDI disability benefits may be reduced if you are receiving cash from other benefits programs. For example, people receiving worker’s compensation and SSDI concurrently may have their overall payment reduced.

If you are receiving SSI benefits, you may also experience a reduction in payment if you experience an increase in income. You may lose eligibility if you recover from your condition and are now able to work.

10. Would incarceration affect my disability benefits?

Yes. If you were incarcerated for 30 days or more, your incarceration may affect your SSDI or SSI benefits. Please speak to our disability team to learn more about the affect incarceration may have on your SSDI or SSI benefits.

11. Do I need to be a citizen to receive SSDI or SSI benefits?

No. You do not need to be a citizen. However, you do need to reside in the United States legally. Generally speaking, non-citizens need to fit into one of the Social Security Administration’s categories of “qualified alien.”

You may receive disability benefits if you are a U.S. citizen, lawful resident or have a work permit. There are exceptions to this rule, as long as you fit into certain categories of “qualified alien.” Speak to an agent at 833-MY-DISABILITY to learn more about these exceptions.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you are unable or no longer able to work due to a disability, you should get
the benefits that you need. Get a free case review today.

Complete our form below or call us at 833-MY-DISABILITY .