Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two government programs designed to assist individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. However, there are several key differences between SSDI and SSI. The primary difference is that SSDI benefits are awarded based on work credits. In other words, workers who have earned enough work credits and suffer a debilitating injury or illness that prevents them from working are eligible for SSDI benefits. SSI, on the other hand, is available for those who are prevented from working due to a disability and do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. Generally speaking, individuals who have previously been able to work but then develop or experience a worsening of a disabling condition can qualify for SSDI, whereas individuals who have never been able to work due to a disability can pursue SSI.
If you have questions about your particular situation or whether or not you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, our firm can help. At Woodruff Johnson & Evans, we proudly serve clients throughout the state of Illinois. Our Chicago SSDI and SSI attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience; we know the Social Security Disability system and the processes involved in securing Supplemental Security Income. We are prepared to help you work to
recover the benefits you need and are owed.
Give us a call at (866) 400-4450 or fill out an online contact form to get started with your no-cost case evaluation. We have offices in Chicago, Aurora, and Champaign.
Who Qualifies for SSI Benefits?
Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based government program. In contrast to SSDI, which is funded by the Social Security trust fund, funds for SSI come from general taxes. Unlike with SSDI, eligibility for SSI has nothing to do with your work history. Instead, SSI eligibility is based strictly on need and is reserved for individuals with very limited assets and income.
In order to be eligible for SSI, you must:
- Have less than $2,000 in assets if you are single or less than $3,000 total in joint assets if you are married
- Prove that you are totally disabled (if you are under 65) and that this disability prevents you from obtaining any gainful employment
- Show that you do not have any other means of adequately supporting yourself (insufficient or nonexistent income)
If you are over the age of 65, you may qualify for SSI even if you are not completely disabled under the Social Security Administration’s definition of complete disability. Additionally, some individuals—particularly those that have worked within the last 10 years—qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits. It is a good idea to consult with an attorney to determine your best option.
How to Apply for SSDI or SSI Benefits
The process of applying for and receiving SSDI or SSI benefits can be incredibly complex. People who attempt to do so on their own typically face numerous obstacles. In fact, many properly filed initial claims are rejected—less than half of all first-time SSDI and SSI claims are accepted.
Woodruff Johnson & Evans can help you complete and submit the proper paperwork. We can also assist you if your initial claim is denied. We have extensive experience navigating all aspects of SSDI and SSI, including filing initial claims, appealing rejected claims, and representing our clients at appeal hearings. Our Chicago disability lawyers are able to handle every aspect of your claim if you are not able to due to your disability or impairment. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get to work helping you secure the benefits you need. We offer free initial consultations and contingent fees, meaning you do not owe us anything until we recover benefits on your behalf.
Need help filing an SSDI or SSI claim? Was your initial claim denied? Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans online or by phone at (866) 400-4450 to find out how we can help!