Disability under Social Security is based on your inability to work due to physical or mental impairments. You will be considered disabled by Social Security Administration if you are unable to work and if your disability is expected to last at least a year or to result in death.
Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under either or both of two programs:
- SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE (SSDI)
- SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI)
The medical requirements for disability payments under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the same under both programs and disability is determined by the same process. While eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance is based on prior work, eligibility for Supplemental Security Income is based on financial need.
You may become eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits at any age. Children with severe medical or mental impairments are also eligible for disability benefits under some circumstances.
If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, certain members of your family may also qualify for benefits on your earnings records. They include:
1Your unmarried child (including an adopted child, or in some cases stepchild or grandchild) under the age 18 or under the age of 19 if he or she is a full-time student in high school.
2Your unmarried child age 18 or older if he or she has a disability that started before age 22.
3Your spouse who is age 62 or older, or any age if he or she is caring for your child under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits.
4If you die, your disabled widow or widower age 50 or older. The disability must have started before your death or within 7 years after your death.
Under the Supplemental Security Income program the disabled individual is the only person eligible for benefits. There are no benefits payable to the children, spouse or parents of the benefits recipient.
If Your Claim is Denied:
If your initial application is denied by the Social Security Administration, you have the right to appeal the denial of your claim. The four stages of appeal are:
2) Administrative Law Judge Hearing
3) Appeals Council Review
4) Federal Court Appeal
You have 60 days from the time you receive the denial of your claim, to file a timely appeal with the Social Security Administration. Your failure to file a timely appeal within 60 days, may result in waiver of some of your rights for Social Security benefits. You may retain an attorney at any level of the decision making process.
If you are approved for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits:
You will receive monthly benefits under either or both programs. Under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, the amount of your monthly benefits is based on past earnings, and your spouse and children may be eligible for additional monthly benefits. Supplemental Security Income benefits are paid up to a certain maximum amount. In California the monthly benefits are generally $877 per recipient.
If your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance is approved you will automatically become eligible for Medicare benefits after 24 months of eligibility.
If your claim for Supplemental Security Income is approved, you will become eligible for Medi-Cal immediately.