The Social Security Disability program is made up of 2 different programs: SSI (Title XVI) and SSDI (DIB) (Title II).
SSDI/DIB is similar to a long-term disability insurance policy. To qualify, you have to have worked for 20 of the last 40 quarters before becoming disabled. The amount of the monthly check that you will receive is based on the amount that you have paid into the system. You will be able to determine how much you will get in monthly payments on SSDI/DIB by calling Social Security and asking for an earnings report. You may also have one at home because every so often Social Security sends out a report that shows how much you would get if you retire or became disabled. Assets (including your bank account and other property) are not considered in determining whether you qualify for SSDI.
SSI is a needs based program. Although the determination of whether you are disabled is the same for SSI claimants as it is for DIB claimants, there is an extra step involved in SSI cases. To qualify you have to have less than $2,000 a month in income for individuals and $3,000 for couples. Income is defined as any item that can be used to meet basic needs for food, shelter, or clothing. Resources that can be converted to cash will also be considered. Resources include (1) cash, (2) other liquid assets, or (3) any real or personal property that can be converted to cash to be used for support and maintenance. Checking and savings accounts, bonds, mutual funds, mortgages, and similar financial instruments are included in resources. Assets are valued at fair market value.
To be eligible for SSI, you must meet both the income and disability requirements.
If you have more questions about Social Security Disability, contact us at 713.993.7311.