Tulsa Social Security Disability Benefits

Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) vs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A. Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”)

Eligibility for DIB results from being “insured.” You become insured by working and by paying Social Security, either as a payroll deduction by your employer (FICA) or as self-employment tax. If you work for cash and do not report your income to the IRS, you will not be insured for purposes of DIB. Each payment to Social Security is, in part, a payment for insurance in the event that you become disabled.

Merely making a few payments to Social Security from your paycheck is not enough to make you insured for purposes of DIB. The rules for determining whether you are insured are quite complex, and we will not attempt to describe the details of those rules here. However, it generally takes several years of working before a person becomes insured for purposes of receiving DIB. Furthermore, a person who is fully insured can lose that insured status if the person stops working for a long period of time or works sporadically.

In order to be eligible for DIB, a claimant must be “insured” prior to the date the person became disabled. The Social Security Administration uses the term “date last insured,” or “DLI,” to describe the date on which the claimant’s insured status stopped. The Social Security Administration determines the date last insured, based on your payroll records and tax records, and if you are found to be disabled after the date last insured, you are not eligible for DIB. Cases in which the date last insured has expired can be very difficult, since the claimant must prove his/her condition in the remote past.

Although DIB requires that a claimant be insured, DIB payments are generally greater in amount that SSI, and a person can receive DIB payments regardless of his/her financial status. If a person is insured and becomes disabled, that person is eligible for DIB payments.

B. Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)

Unlike DIB, SSI does not require that a person be insured. A person can be eligible for SSI if he/she has never worked. However, SSI is essentially a form of welfare, and eligibility for SSI is based on the claimant’s income and assets. The criteria is complex, and we are not providing a detailed description of the rules for determining eligibility for SSI. However, only persons with very low income and very few assets are eligible for SSI.

If a person has applied for SSI benefits, and that person is found to be disabled, he/she is then asked to provide the Social Security Administration with an “SSI update,” which is an update of the income and asset information previously provided to the Social Security Administration. The claimant will receive benefits only after he/she has been determined to qualify for SSI based on the information received at the update. If a claimant has filed a concurrent claim, one for both DIB and SSI, the claimant may receive benefits from both DIB and SSI.

If you have further questions about benefits or Tulsa OK social security disability, please contact us to set up a free consultation.