The benefits available to Americans through the Social Security program vary depending on a person’s situation. Most people know that they qualifiy for different Social Security benefits because of their workplace tax withholdings.
From the first day that you get a job, you start making contributions to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Over time, those contributions will reach a minimum balance threshold, at which point you potentially qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
SSDI benefits help those who suffer from long-term, disabling medical conditions before they reach the age of retirement. Lifelong employment contributions can also help you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. If you have never worked or didn’t reach the minimum withholding requirements for SSDI, but doesn’t mean you have no support if you develop a disabling condition.
Supplemental Security Income protects those who can’t or don’t work
Unlike SSDI, which is a program whose benefits reflect the contributions people make themselves, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not require personal contributions. Children who have never worked can qualify for SSI, as can adults who have worked infrequently or part time.
SSI is a benefit that helps those with very low or no income. The limited SSI benefits help these people meet their basic requirements for independence, such as paying rent and buying groceries.
Who qualifies for SSI?
People from a number of different groups qualify for SSI. Those who are 65 or older can receive it, as can those who are totally or partially blind. If you have a medical condition that would qualify you for SSDI but not the work history you need for SSDI benefits, you can also qualify for SSI.
It can be hard to determine if a specific condition meets the requirements for SSI. Generally speaking, it will have to be debilitating, meaning that it prevents you from working or meeting your own care needs. It will also need to last for at least a year, if not longer.
Applying for benefits means submitting evidence of your financial and medical needs. Reviewing your finances and your medical records carefully can give you a better idea about the likelihood of successfully getting SSI benefits in your current situation.