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What is SSI Disability?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2019 | Social Security Disability

What Is Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides much-needed disability benefits to adults who lack the income or employment history to apply for coverage through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSI disability claims are complicated and unfortunately, many disabled people struggle to access all the benefits they deserve.

In this article, our top-rated Tacoma, WA Social Security disability attorneys explain the most important things you need to know regarding Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims like:

  • SSDI and SSI are different programs
  • SSI provides disability benefits for financially vulnerable people
  • applicants must meet the medical requirements

SSDI and SSI are Different Programs

Although many people conflate Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they are two distinct federal programs. Unlike SSDI, the Supplemental Security Income disability program is strictly needs-based. It is designed to provide disability benefits to low-income people and is funded by taxes rather than through the Social Security trust fund.

SSI Provides Disability Benefits for Financially Vulnerable People

Many vulnerable disabled people are unable to apply for standard Social Security disability benefits through the SSDI claims process. This is because some people are not ‘insured’ under SSDI. Contrary to popular belief, you are not automatically covered by SSDI.

To be insured under this program, you must have paid a sufficient amount of money into the trust fund. In other words, you must have worked for a certain number of quarters and paid a certain amount in W-2 income taxes or self-employment taxes.

For obvious reasons, many disabled adults do not meet these income requirements, as they are often unable to work. This puts them in a financially vulnerable position. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program helps to fill this gap as it provides an option to receive disability benefits, regardless of prior income and work history.

Applicants Must Meet Medical Requirements

To be clear, SSI disability benefits are not available to everyone as it is not a general welfare program. There are still strict medical requirements for SSI benefits and you cannot apply for the benefit simply because you are not earning an income or because you feel unwell. In order to qualify for SSI disability benefits, you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which prevents you from performing any substantial gainful activity.

While the Social Security Administration (SSA) has put together a large list of conditions that are generally accepted, you do not necessarily need to have a listed condition. However, applicants for SSI disability will be required to produce medical evidence and an adult disability report” because both of those things are required.

Get Help from Our Washington Social Security Disability Lawyers Today

At the Alliance Law Group, our Tacoma, WA Social Security disability attorneys are committed advocates for our clients and we will help you get the full SSI benefits you deserve. To set up a free, no-obligation review of your SSI disability case, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team today at 253-300-2055. With a law office in University Place, we serve communities throughout Pierce County.