Millions of Americans each year suffer from mental and physical conditions that make it difficult for them to earn a living. Without a regular income, they may suffer financial hardship. If a medical diagnosis has prevented you from working, there’s a chance you could be eligible for certain Social Security benefits. Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be used for various qualifying conditions.

As you navigate SSDI or SSI benefits, the guidance of an attorney can be invaluable. Located in Florida, the dedicated team at Disability Advocates Group is well-equipped to help you determine your suitability for these benefits. From guiding you through a tedious application process to challenging any claim denials, we’ve got your back. Reach out to Disability Advocates Group for a no-obligation discussion to understand your legal options better.

The Difference Between SSDI and SSI

SSDI and SSI are two separate federal initiatives designed to offer financial support to those who align with criteria set by the federal authorities. Recognizing how each operates is crucial when discerning your eligibility for either the SSDI or SSI benefits. While SSDI eligibility depends on a person’s accumulated work credits, SSI is based on financial necessity.

These two federal safety nets differ. While SSDI is a program for individuals who have sufficiently contributed to the Social Security system, SSI targets those with minimal assets and resources. Those qualifying for SSI also gain automatic access to Medicaid benefits.  Those qualifying for SSDI gain access to Medicare benefits. 

Though the non-medical prerequisites for each differ, both SSDI and SSI require proof that your health condition aligns with the Social Security Administration’s criteria for disability. 

Requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in Florida

SSDI is reserved for disabled individuals aged between 18 and 65 who have contributed to the Social Security system via income tax deductions. The criteria for work credits are influenced by factors like your age, the duration of your employment, and the recency of your work. Typically, the more advanced in age you are, the higher the work credits required to be eligible for SSDI. If your work history isn’t extensive enough for SSDI eligibility, you may still pursue disability benefits through the SSI program.

Moreover, to be considered for SSDI, you must establish that your disability onset occurred prior to your “date of last insured.” This date signifies the final day you’re protected under the SSDI program, typically estimated to be around five years from when you were last employed.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Requirements in Florida

SSI is extended to individuals who are disabled, blind, or over 65 years old. There’s no requirement to show a history of work or contributions to the Social Security system to be eligible for this benefit. Instead, the Social Security Administration conducts a financial assessment to determine if you qualify, factoring in both your and your family’s current income and assets.

To be eligible for SSI, there’s a cap on assets: $2,000 for single individuals and $3,000 for couples. However, there are exceptions to what counts towards this limit, such as a primary residence or a single vehicle. Simply put, if your total assets surpass these thresholds, you won’t qualify for SSI.

Medical Eligibility for SSDI and SSI

Though SSDI and SSI have different technical prerequisites, their medical qualification criteria are identical. For both, you must prove the existence of a lasting disability, anticipated to continue for at least a year or lead to death. Comprehensive medical evidence is essential to validate your medical condition. Moreover, you might be asked to participate in one or more independent evaluations.

For clarity on meeting the medical criteria, turning to the Disability Advocates Group is advised. We’ll collaborate with you and your healthcare providers to furnish the needed medical evidence for the Social Security Administration. If your benefits application faces rejection due to unmet medical qualifications, we’re here to assist you in lodging a disability appeal. It’s crucial to realize that this appeal process is intricate, and every stage must be meticulously executed.

There’s also the possibility of attending a disability hearing, which underscores the importance of our dedicated representation. We’re committed to standing by your side, advocating for your cause, and safeguarding your rights with unwavering diligence.

Am I Eligible for SSDI or SSI Benefits?

If you’re capable of working, SSDI benefits won’t be accessible to you. SSDI is designed to support individuals who cannot maintain employment due to their conditions. A valid medical diagnosis that prevents you from working for a minimum of 12 months doesn’t automatically make you eligible for disability benefits. If your inability to work stretches over a year but SSDI doesn’t apply to your situation, SSI might still be a feasible option. While SSDI and SSI share similar medical criteria, SSI remains a program based on financial necessity. To truly gauge your entitlement to these benefits, consulting with a seasoned attorney is pivotal.

How Much Can You Make On SSDI In Florida?

As a disability attorney, our focus is on helping clients navigate the SSDI process, not on specific financial figures. The amount of SSDI benefits you receive in Florida depends on your average lifetime earnings, not your current location. It’s crucial to understand that SSDI is a federal program, so the benefit rates are consistent nationwide. If you’d like to estimate your potential benefits, you can use the Social Security Administration’s online calculator.

Contact a Florida Social Security Disability Attorney Today

At Disability Advocates Group, our mission is to clarify your legal entitlements and alternatives. Should you be uncertain about your eligibility for benefits, our adept attorneys stand ready to address your queries. We pride ourselves on our history of successfully assisting clients in Florida in their pursuit of SSDI and SSI benefits. Reach out to Disability Advocates Group for a free case review.