Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Versus Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Many people understandably get confused when attempting to figure out the difference between SSDI and SSI. Both programs are overseen by the SSA and offer monetary benefits to disabled individuals. However, they have significantly different eligibility requirements.
How to Qualify for SSDI Benefits for Veterans
To qualify for SSDI benefits as a disabled Veteran, you must:
- Have a qualifying disability
- Have enough work credits
- Pass the “recent work test”
A qualifying disability is a severe condition that prevents you from doing “substantial gainful activity,” meaning you cannot safely do most types of work. This condition must be expected to render you incapable of working for at least 12 months (or result in death). The SSA maintains a list of qualifying conditions, but you may still be eligible even if your specific disability is not explicitly listed.
You earn work credits by earning wages and paying Social Security taxes. Wages earned through military service count toward your accumulation of work credits. You can earn up to four credits per year. The older you are when you apply, the more work credits you will need.
The “recent work test” generally requires that you have worked at least five of the preceding ten years before your disability took you out of the workforce. This rule may not apply if you are younger and could not have realistically worked ten years.
How to Qualify for SSI as a Veteran
To qualify for SSI benefits as a disabled Veteran, you must:
- Have a qualifying disability
- Meet income and resource limits
Like with SSDI, your disability must be severe and keep you from working. You will be ineligible for SSI if you make too much income or have too many assets. Because SSI is a needs-based program, these limits are extremely low. Keep in mind that VA disability benefits are generally considered countable income.
Can I Get Both SSDI & SSI At the Same Time?
You can potentially get SSDI, SSI, and/or VA disability benefits at the same time. Receiving benefits from one program does not necessarily prevent you from qualifying for another (or both). Again, note that VA disability benefits will count toward your income and asset limits, so it may not be practical to pursue both SSI and VA disability benefits. Many Veterans simultaneously receive SSDI and VA disability benefits, however. Our national Veterans Social Security Disability attorney can evaluate your circumstances and advise on the best possible strategy.
Why Choose Our SSI & SSDI Lawyers for Veterans
At Veterans Advocacy Law Group, we will help you take full advantage of all available expedited processing opportunities. We recognize that you are likely experiencing financial hardship and will make it our mission to get you and your family the compensation you need. This may include applying for multiple programs simultaneously.
Our SSDI lawyers for veterans also understand how dispiriting it can be to receive a denial, but we will leverage our comprehensive resources to help you pursue a persuasive appeal. Getting you the benefits you have earned is our top priority, no matter the circumstances.
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