When applying for Social Security disability, you can actually be approved for two different types of disability. Without going into too much detail, a person can either qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Here are the basic differences:
A person qualifies for SSDI by paying into the system through his or her FICA payments withheld from their paycheck and earning work credits. There is no income limit for SSDI as long as a person is not working and making over $1,130.00 per month (for 2016). Consequently, a millionaire that is not working and qualifies medically can receive SSDI.
A person qualifies for SSI when he or she is medically unable to work and does not have income or assets (nonexempt because Social Security does allow one home, car, etc.). But, a person will qualify for these benefits when he or she does not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. Here, however, one must make sure that he or she does not make more than $733 per month and does not have a house hold income of more than $1,100.00. SSI is essentially welfare because a person is receiving money without paying sufficiently into the system.
So, what happens when a person applies for Social Security disability benefits and then receives a denial in the mail due to lack of sufficient work credits?
First, take a look at your situation:
Do you have many assets? Are they exempt (a home, a car)?
Do you have money in your bank account? If so, how much. The rules state that you cannot have more than $2,000.00 in cash.
Are you married? If so, is your spouse working? Does your spouse make more than $1,100.00 per month? If you are still married, are you separated and the spouse is not contributing to your living expenses?
Do you receive child support? If so, how much?
Is someone helping to support you? Are you receiving free rent and help with food and other expenses?
The above questions are the kind you need to be asking yourself. If you do not have any assets (other than a home and a car), you have less then $2,000.00 cash, you are or are not married (but if you are, your household income is less than $1,100.00 per month) and you are not receiving more than $733.00 per month in help from other sources (including things like free rent, etc.), then you may be able to qualify for SSI even though you lack enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
So, how does one go about putting their Social Security disability case back on track?
First, contact Social Security right away. Don't put it off and wait for a couple of months to do this. You may be under a deadline and not even know it.
Second, after contacting Social Security, tell them you are seeking disability benefits and need to file your SSI application. This application is completely different from the first one you filed while applying for disability. For your SSI application, Social Security will be wanting to know answers to the same questions stated above.
Third, ask Social Security if you still need to file an appeal or if the SSI application will put your case back on track. Read your denial letter carefully, if Social Security makes you aware that you have 60 days in which to file an appeal of their decision, then you will likely have to file one.
After you do file your SSI application, follow back up in a week or so and see if Social Security needs anything else (copies of W-2's, birth certificate, etc.) Those too may be keeping your case contained in the local office and the reason why your file has not been sent to your state's Disability Determination Service.
Finally, don't give up even if you are frustrated with the process. Keep calling your local office to make sure your case moves forward. When a case is denied immediately due to lack of work credits, it tends to get bogged down and not move. Don't let that happen to you.