Eligibility Guide To Government Benefits & Family Resources

Social Security Disability Benefits Application SSDI

Disability Benefits Basics

Understanding how Social Security Disability works and navigating the SSA.GOV; website can be difficult and overwhelming. Statistically, about 35% of applications are approved at the initial application level and 10% are approved at the reconsideration level, so getting approved can be difficult.

Knowing the rules and using representation can more than double your chances of winning a claim, so important to learn as much as you can before filing a claim when applying for SSDI.

In order to qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), or Title II, a claimant must:


  • Show that he or she is disabled, or cannot engage in Substantial Gainful Activity.
  • Have earned enough work credits.


Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI), DIB relies heavily on work credits rather than income. Work credits are simply a way Social Security determines if you have paid enough income taxes into the system through your paychecks.


It is possible to qualify for both SSI and DIB. If you have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years and have a low level of income and assets, you may be approved for both. However, your final monthly benefits amount may be different from what is quoted in your approval letter.Remember that each type of benefits is still dependent on your ability to prove your disability through detailed medical records. Your representative will have more information and will probably handle most of this for you.

Are you eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits? If you do not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because you have not worked for a total of five of the last ten years, you may qualify for SSI benefits. Supplemental Security Income was established to help those people who are disabled, but didn’t have the opportunity to work the required quarters.

In order to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Title XVI, a claimant must:


  • Show that he or she is disabled, or cannot engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
  • Show that he or she has a low income with few assets (see SGA Requirements for SSI or SSDI).

Unlike Disability Insurance Benefits, SSI is NOT dependent on how long a claimant has worked. Rather, income and assets are the main factors when determining eligibility for SSI benefits. The income from other members of your household will also be considered.

For example, if an individual is disabled but has a spouse with significant earnings, this person would not qualify for SSI even if he or she is severely disabled. If an individual has worked enough to qualify for DIB, he or she may also qualify for SSI.

If you are unsure which type of benefits would apply to your situation, be that SSDI or Supplemental Security Income, contacting a disability representative can answer your question fairly quickly.