Most of us know or have heard of someone who is “on disability.” This means that the person in question is collecting benefits from the federal and state governments to help them pay bills and meet their monthly expenses after suffering an injury, illness or other condition that renders them unable to hold down a regular job. Often, people wonder what makes one able to collect these benefits. Learn who is eligible for social security/disability benefits through SSI and SSDI, and what circumstances allow you to collect before age 65.

Types of Social Security Disability

There are two types of federal social security/disability programs for which you can apply if you are unable to work and need assistance. These are SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, and SSI, or Supplemental Security Income. The qualifications for each of these vary based on several factors.

Social Security Disability Insurance

SSDI is available to those people who have suffered a disability and have already been in the workforce for a set amount of time. As you work, you build up “credits” with the Social Security agency. The number of credits you need to accrue in order to qualify depends on your age and exactly when you suffered your disability. At minimum, you have to have worked at least half of the last decade. Payments for SSDI are usually in the neighborhood of $1,000 per month, sometimes up to $1,200. The higher your original salary and the higher your original FICA taxes, the more you will be eligible to receive. After two years of benefits, you are eligible for Medicare.

Supplemental Security Income

SSI is a cooperative federal/state program and eligibility depends on the individual state. Every state, however, has to abide by federal standards as follows:

  • Age 65, is blind or has suffered a disability
  • Citizen of the United States
  • Permanent resident, military veteran, political asylee or refugee who meets strict standards
  • Low monthly income; your current income will offset the amount you can receive
  • Own less than $2,000 in property ($3,000 for couples). This doesn’t include large-ticket items like cars and homes.

SSI benefits cap at $733 per month ($1,100 for couples). Most states offer a supplemental payment that augments these benefits. In Illinois, if you are eligible for state supplemental benefits, you are also eligible for Medicare.

Proving Disability

In order to collect SSI or SSDI before retirement age, you must prove disability. That means you must have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from holding down gainful employment for at least a year. This can be difficult to argue; therefore, it’s very helpful for many to have a qualified attorney in your corner.

Contact Us if You Are Eligible for Social Security/Disability

If you are facing a disability and need federal aid, don’t wait. Read about how SSI in Illinois works, and get in touch with our office for a free, no-obligation consultation today!