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Disability SSDI and SSI Explained

Did you know studies show that a 20-year worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age?

What is SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. Social Security administers this program. The program pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children are also eligible for SSI benefits.

Many people who are eligible for SSI benefits may also be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. In fact, the application for SSI benefits is also an application for Social Security benefits.


The SSI program provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.

The dollar amount of SSI benefits depends on the beneficiary’s income and whether they live alone, with others, in the household of another or in a residential care facility.

Disability Determination

To receive SSI benefits you must be disabled, blind or at least 65 years old and have “limited” income and resources.

SSI Benefits for Children

Benefits are payable to children with disabilities who are under the age of 18 if they have a parent who is collecting retirement or disability benefits from Social Security. Children are also entitled to benefits when the child is under the age of 18 and a parent has died.

A child under the age of 18 is eligible for SSI merely because he or she is the dependent child of someone getting retirement or disability benefits or has had a parent who died. A child can continue receiving dependents or survivors benefits until age 19 if he or she is a full-time student in elementary or High School.

SSI Benefits for Children with Disability Non-Medical Rules

Children can qualify if they meet Social Security’s definition of disability and if their parent’s income and assets fall within the eligibility limits for SSI.

SSI supplements a person’s income up to a certain level. The level varies from one state to another and can go up every year on the basis of cost of living increases.

Rules for Children 18 and older

When a child turns 18, evaluators no longer consider a parent’s income and assets when they decide if he or she can get SSI. A child who was not eligible for SSI before his or her 18th birthday because a parent’s income or assets were too high may become eligible at 18. They now would have to prove disability under the rules for adults.

Deciding SSI Disability for Children under 18

A child’s disability cannot be evaluated using work-related adult criteria. The law states that a child will be considered disabled if he or she is not working and has impairment that is as severe as one that which disable an adult. This means that the condition must limit the child’s ability to function like other children of the same age to such a degree that the impairment is comparable to that which would make an adult disabled.

Always consult with an experienced social security disability professional when you need help getting your disability benefits.

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A Jacoby & Meyers professional can help you at all levels of the administrative process to:

  • Assist you with your initial SSI & SSDI application, with filing your request with the Social Security Administration for reconsideration, requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge or filing an appeal with the Appeals Council
  • Analyze your case under federal Social Security Disability regulations. Obtain a copy of your file from the Office of Hearings & Appeals to ensure that it reflects all your past medical treatment and that all records and documents contained therein are admissible as evidence
  • Ask that any prior SSI & SSDI applications for benefits be reopened
  • Protect your right to a fair hearing
  • Make any necessary Social Security appeals

We are not retained until the contract is countersigned.

Please contact our SSDI lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. Jacoby & Meyers has offices throughout the U.S.