How to Apply for SSDI/SSI Benefits
Sustaining a spinal cord injury can affect your ability to work and make money, especially during the time right after your injury. Spinal cord injuries are incredibly expensive, as people with SCIs have to pay for medical bills, medical equipment, home modifications, physical therapy, and more. Luckily, the Social Security Administration offers cash benefits for people with disabilities in the US who cannot work and make money. These benefits are called SSDI and SSI. Applying for SSDI and/or SSI benefits can help you keep up with your expenses and remain financially stable. Read below to learn about how to apply for SSI and/or SSDI benefits, along with what a Social Security benefits lawyer can do to help you.
What is SSDI?
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Income. SSDI benefits are monthly cash payments for people with disabilities who need financial support. SSDI cash benefits help people with disabilities pay for necessities like housing, food, and transportation. SSDI is only available to people who have worked for at least five years prior to their injury; this is because people are required to pay into the Social Security system for at least five years before they are eligible to receive benefits.
What is SSI?
SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. SSI benefits are monthly cash payments for people who make a small amount of income, if any, and need financial assistance. SSI benefits are available to people who need help financially, people who are blind or disabled, and/or people who are above the age of 65. SSI benefits are designed to help people pay for basic necessities like housing, food, and transit.
The good news about SSI is that you are not required to have paid into the system prior to your injury to be eligible for benefits. Unlike SSDI, where you must have worked for at least 5 years prior to your injury, SSI benefits are available to anyone who is financially in need, disabled, or above 65 years old. Many people who have spinal cord injuries who have not worked before receive SSI benefits.
Another positive aspect of SSI benefits is that receiving SSI creates eligibility for food stamps and Medicaid benefits. If you are on SSI, you are automatically qualified to receive food stamps and Medicaid. However, there are strict income limits for those who receive SSI. If you make over a certain amount of income per month, your SSI cash benefits will be suspended. Visit the Social Security Administration website to learn about the income requirements in your state.
How do I apply for SSDI and/or SSI?
You can apply for SSDI and/or SSI benefits online through the website https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/apply.html. The unfortunate reality of applying for cash benefits is that the process can take months, even longer than a year, to complete. Because of this, we recommend applying for SSI and/or SSDI benefits as soon as possible after your injury. To be eligible for SSI/SSDI benefits, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled”. Luckily, spinal cord injuries meet this definition, meaning if you sustained an SCI, you are most likely eligible to receive SSDI/SSI benefits.
The application process for SSDI and SSI benefits is complicated and lengthy. In fact, around 67% of applicants are denied benefits when they first apply. Because of this, we recommend hiring a Social Security benefits lawyer to ensure that you receive the benefits you need.
How can a Social Security benefits lawyer help me?
SSDI and SSI applicants who hire legal teams to help them apply for Social Security benefits are 30% more likely to be approved for benefits. Your chances of receiving the cash benefits you need greatly increase when you have an experienced legal team on your side. Because of this, you should hire an experienced Social Security legal team to help you navigate your benefits claim.
There are many ways in which your legal team can help you navigate the benefits application process. Your experienced Social Security lawyers can help you with the following tasks:
- Conducting a review of your case
- Collecting all evidence and medical records needed to prove your need for financial assistance
- Completing all necessary sections of your benefits application and file the correct paperwork
- Serving as the direct contact between you and the Social Security Administration to ensure the SSA has all required information for your claim
- Filing appeals on your behalf if you are initially denied benefits
- Representing you in your disability benefits hearing to ensure you can present your case in a convincing, successful manner
Simply put, hiring a Social Security legal team to help you with your SSI and/or SSDI benefits applications will help you immensely when it comes to getting the cash benefits you need. The benefits application process can be stressful, which is why having an experienced legal team at your side is essential.
If you are looking to apply for SSI and/or SSDI benefits, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the form provided on this page. Our team of experienced spinal cord injury experts can answer any questions you may have about staying financially stable after your injury.