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01. Social Security Disability (SSDIB) / Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Social Security Disability (SSDIB)

Obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a challenging and lengthy process. The first obstacle that applicants often encounter is meeting the strict eligibility requirements. To qualify for SSD benefits, an individual must have a medical condition that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death. Additionally, the medical condition must be severe enough to prevent the individual from performing their previous job or any other type of work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a strict definition of disability, and meeting these criteria can be difficult.


Social Security Disability is an insurance program for those who have worked and paid into they system during the relevant time period.  Generally, you must prove you became disabled prior to your disability insurance expiring, which is about 5 years after your stop working.  SSA often gets this wrong.  If your insurance expired in the past (your "date last insured" you will of course need evidence proving disability going back that far.  Your local office can give your your "date last insured".

Even if an individual meets the eligibility requirements, the application process for SSD benefits can be complex and time-consuming. The process typically involves completing multiple forms and providing extensive medical documentation to support the claim. The SSA has a strict set of guidelines for evaluating disability claims, and the process can take several months or even years to complete. Many applicants are initially denied benefits and must appeal the decision, which can further extend the timeline for receiving benefits. Overall, the process of obtaining SSD benefits is difficult, and it requires persistence and patience to navigate the system successfully.


The Social Security disability process typically involves several steps, including filing an initial application, providing medical documentation, and attending a disability hearing if necessary. The first step in the process is filing an initial application with the SSA. This application requires detailed information about the individual's medical condition, work history, and income. The SSA will review the application and may request additional medical documentation to support the claim. If the initial application is denied, the individual may appeal the decision and request a reconsideration of the claim. If the reconsideration is also denied, the individual can request a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. The hearing provides an opportunity for the individual to present additional evidence and testimony to support their claim. If the judge approves the claim, the individual will begin receiving SSD benefits. If the claim is denied at the hearing, the individual can appeal the decision to the SSA's Appeals Council and ultimately to the federal court system.

Having an experienced attorney from the beginning can prevent mistakes that preclude benefits further in the process.  Call the Law Office of James Dolenga from anywhere in the United States at (866)772-5299.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is notoriously difficult to obtain due to its strict eligibility criteria. To qualify for SSI, an individual must have a disabling medical condition that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity and have limited income and resources. This means that the applicant's income and assets must fall below certain limits set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In addition, the medical condition must be expected to last at least one year or result in death. Meeting these requirements can be a challenge, and many applicants are denied benefits upon initial application.


The SSI disability rules are similar to those of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, SSI benefits are available to individuals who have not worked or paid enough into the Social Security system to qualify for SSDI benefits. In addition, SSI benefits are means-tested, which means that the amount of the benefit is based on the individual's income and resources. The monthly SSI benefit amount varies by state and is adjusted annually for inflation. Despite the challenges of obtaining SSI benefits, they can be a lifeline for disabled individuals who have limited income and resources and are unable to work due to a severe medical condition.


The Supplemental Security Income process begins with an initial application. The applicant must provide medical and financial information to the SSA to determine their eligibility for benefits. The SSA will review the application and may request additional information or medical records. If the application is denied, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision through a multi-step process that includes a reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, and a review by the Appeals Council. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the applicant can file a lawsuit in federal court. It is important to note that the SSI program has strict income and asset limits, which means that applicants must have limited resources to qualify for benefits. As of 2023, the SSI asset limit is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple.

People who are denied need to seek counsel rather than simply giving up on their claim just because they received a denial.  Call the Law Office of James Dolenga from anywhere in the United States at (866)772-5299.

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