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Good Monday Morning, Everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today is the first of 4 parts on Social Security information that I hope is helpful. I know navigating the system is difficult and can be very frustrating. Perhaps this can make it a little easier! This information was provided to me by a writer at the Social Security Disability Help blog.

Spinal Cord Injury and Social Security Disability Benefits

A spinal cord injury—no matter the cause—can prevent you from being able to work for long periods of time.

If you find that you are unable to work or earn a living after sustaining a spinal cord injury, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits can be used to offset daily expenses and medical costs.

Unfortunately, many find the Social Security Disability application process to be quite difficult. For this reason, we have provided you with a step-by-step guide to benefit eligibility and the application process. Continue reading to see if you or a loved one qualifies for assistance.

Step 1: Choosing a Disability Benefit Program

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for several different benefit programs. The two main federal disability benefit programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each of these programs caters to a specific group of people. SSDI is a program for adults who have worked and paid Social Security taxes and SSI caters to disabled individuals who earn very little income.  Each of these programs has their own set of technical eligibility requirements.

To qualify for SSDI, applicants must have worked and paid taxes for a significant period of time. To determine a person’s eligibility for SSDI, the SSA assigns each applicant a specific number of “work credits”—a unit of measurement used to evaluate a person’s past income, work experience, and tax payments. You must meet the work credit requirements in order to receive SSDI benefits. Learn more about work credits and SSDI eligibility, here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi.

SSI is different in that eligibility is based on financial need, rather than employment history. To qualify, applicants must fall within financial parameters set by the SSA. These parameters govern the amount of income and resources you can have.  For more information about applying for SSI benefits, visit the following page: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm.

It is important to look into these requirements to determine which program is the best fit for your particular circumstances and needs.

Check back next Monday for additional information. Please let me know if you’ve found any helpful resources or have any tips for applying for benefits. Thanks!

Cynthia

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