The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of Social Security disability benefits for adults: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Applying for Social Security Benefits

You can apply for benefits on the SSA’s website or schedule an appointment at the nearest SSA office. It’s important to note that 66 percent of applications are denied, often because of errors on applications or because the applicant didn’t provide enough proof of disability.

There are multiple forms you’ll need when applying, such as a disability benefit application, an adult disability report and the authorization to disclose information form. It’s best to obtain the Checklist for Online Adult Disability Application and make sure you have all the items prior to applying. To avoid making errors that might hurt your chances of approval, it’s a good idea to have a disability attorney help you from the start.

Below, we briefly review the qualifications for each type of benefit. For questions related to disability benefits, info about other SSA benefits such as retirement or survivors’ benefits, or for assistance with the application or appeals process, you are welcome to contact our team at Patton Brown Law.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)

SSDI is a government-organized insurance program to which most workers have access. It provides a benefit check each month to qualified disabled workers. In 2013, the average check totaled $1,146.42, according to the SSA. The benefit is truly a godsend for many families around the country who’ve been struck by disability.

Each year of employment earns SSDI credits, which accumulate on your record. If you are ever hurt or become seriously ill and no longer can work, you can apply for SSDI benefits as long as you are considered disabled per the SSA’s definition and you have earned enough work credits. The number of credits you need depends on the age you became disabled. For help determining the number of credits you need to qualify or for questions about whether or not your condition satisfies the definition of disabled, you can visit the SSA’s website or consult a local disability attorney.

Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI)

Some Americans do not have the work credits necessary to qualify for SSDI benefits. These disabled individuals usually have a very low income and are in great need of financial assistance. Fortunately, the SSA has another benefit available: SSI. SSI is a need-based program, so there are certain income guidelines that you have to meet in order to qualify.

This program provides cash assistance to help pay for basic, essential needs for those who are blind or disabled. The majority of SSI recipients are women (53 percent), and the average benefit amount in 2013 was $529, according to the SSA.

To determine if you qualify for SSI, you can utilize the SSA’s Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool online or call our office to speak to one of our disability legal specialists.

Applying for Benefits for Adults: Getting the Help You Need

Patton Brown Law offers a full range of legal services for those seeking disability benefits. We can advise you on which benefits for adults you might qualify, assist you in the application process or help you appeal for your much-needed benefits. Call our office in Winston-Salem today at 855-860-2150 to schedule a free consultation.