The federal government through the Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees programs which aid people who are disabled due to a physical or mental condition.
There are two types of disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI). They are two different programs and eligibility under each program depends on work history and income.
SSDI provides benefits in situations where a disabled worker has made payments into the Social Security fund during the course of their work life. If the disabled worker has established enough payments, they may be able to take part in this program. The benefit amount is determined according to the disabled worker’s lifetime average earnings.
SSI provides benefits for disabled persons with limited income who do not have enough of a work history to qualify them for SSDI benefits. Many states such as Pennsylvania supplement federal SSI benefits with Medicaid. The benefit amount is determined according to the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). For 2012, that amount is $698 for an individual who lives on their own, and $465 for a person living with another.
The standard to determine whether a person is disabled is the same under either program. “Disability” for purposes of the SSA is defined as follows: if a person is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition that is expected to result in death or has lasted or will last for at least one year (12 months). Substantial gainful activity can be either full time or part time work and depends on the facts of each case. In addition, there are special rules for children under the age of 18 who are applying for SSI benefits as well as people who are blind or suffer from other diseases.
Related Legal Article: Social Security Disability – What is the Standard to Determine Disability?
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Published: May 10, 2012