Am I Eligible for Federal Disability Payments?
Federal disability payments
Though everyone’s circumstances are different and there are exceptions in some cases, both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs have basic criteria for eligibility. Below, we will help you make sense of these stipulations so you can determine if you should begin the application process for federal disability compensation.
- American citizenship or residency. You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident to receive disability benefits. This includes showing proof of citizenship or residency. You also need to have a Social Security card.
- Disability. You must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disabled to qualify for disability benefits. The SSA has specific guidelines for disability, which we detailed in an earlier blog post. Beyond the physical or mental impairment itself, they consider the duration of the impairment, its severity, tangible diagnostic evidence, and more.
- Ability to work. The SSA evaluates whether you are able to work at any job you have performed in the last 15 years (as it is currently done in the national economy) —whether it’s currently available or not. If you are able to work, or if there are other jobs you can reasonably handle with your level of education and experience, you will not be eligible for disability benefits.
- Social Security contributions. Even if you’ve never worked, you may be eligible for SSI, but for SSDI, you must have contributed to the SSA through payroll deductions or income taxes over a sufficient period of time to be fully insured. Furthermore, these funds must have been contributed within a reasonably recent window of time to qualify. This is determined by work credits based on the amount of money you made and how long you worked. Your local Social Security office or the federal office can provide your Social Security Statement and help you determine how many work credits you have accrued.
- Income and resource limitations. Though you may not qualify for SSDI, you may be eligible for SSI if you meet the guidelines for low income and resources (assets that can easily be converted into cash such as real estate and stocks or bonds). Check the Supplemental Security Income page on the SSA’s website for more details on their income and resource guidelines.
If you don’t precisely fit the criteria for these programs, as we mentioned above, you may still qualify. Contact Jan Dils Attorneys at Law at 877.526.3457 for an expert consultation. We have an experienced team of disability attorneys, and one of our representatives will be happy to answer your questions. If you’d prefer to contact us online, please fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.