SSDI claims are a taxed payroll federally run insurance program that grants cash payments to unemployable individuals with severe disability. If you're an individual who paid significant social security taxes on his wages, for atleast 5 – 10 years then you would be eligible (aka disability) to apply for SSDI. The supplemental security income, SSI however is for individuals with incomes below a certain threshold (aka AIME, PIA) set by the SSA.
In 2018, the receivable income threshold for eligibility under social security programs for non-blind people was $1180 and for blind individuals it was $2340 maximum. If your income is below the state threshold and you didn't pay any social security taxes on your wages under Federal Insurance Contributions Act, FICA, then you are eligible to only apply to the SSI that is an economic benefits program also run by the SSA.
All workers who have paid the taxes under FICA or SECA (Self employed contributions act, for businesses or freelancers) or more on the specified income threshold are eligible to apply for the social security disability insurance, SSDI to receive reduced benefits if you retire at age 62, and maximum benefits if you decide to retire later that is age 65-68 years. If however, you decide to claim your SSDI benefits before your retirement benefits, you might not receive the maximum benefits under SSDI. Also, if somehow your income while applying for social security has reduced to the threshold that comes under eligibility for SSI, you may be able to receive both supplemental security income, SSI and social security disability, SSDI depending on the severity of your disability and economic needs.
The SSA will determine your social security disability eligibility through:
- A medical or physical condition that prevents you from working in substantial gainful activity, SGA;
- Your disability is expected to last atleast 12 months or result in death;
- You are under the age of 65;
- Your disability meets the list of impairments in the disability Blue Book by the SSA;
- Your disability prevents you from performing work in economic activity;
- Your disability prevents you from doing the past work
Whether or not you qualify the social security disability claims would be decided finally by the SSA examiner. According to a report by the Office of Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, SSA, people have a 90% higher chance of their social security application improved if they have a representative attorney filing or aiding them in filing their claim.