If you are unable to work due to a medical or mental health condition, then you may be entitled to monthly benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA offers two primary types of disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for one or both types of benefits.
To qualify for SSDI and SSI, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disability. In addition, you must either have paid into the system and earned work credits for SSDI or have limited assets and income for SSI. There are no asset limits for SSDI, but you cannot earn over a certain amount of money each month through working.
At Bross & Frankel, we work with people with disabilities throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you are a disabled person, we can help you get the benefits that you need to maintain financial stability. To learn more or to schedule a free claim review with a Social Security disability lawyer, reach out to our law firm today.
What Is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?
To understand Social Security disability asset and income limits, it is first important to learn about the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. While both programs provide monthly benefits to people with disabilities, the eligibility requirements for each are different.
Both SSDI and SSI require proof that a person is disabled. This disability may be due to a medical condition, a mental health diagnosis, or some combination of the two. A person is considered disabled if they are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of their condition, and that condition is expected to either last for 12 months or longer or to result in death.
However, SSDI and SSI have different requirements to qualify for Social Security benefits under each program. It is possible to be approved for both SSDI and SSI based on your unique situation.
Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based program. As described above, a person must be disabled, blind, or aged 65 or older to qualify for SSI. Children who are blind or otherwise disabled may also qualify for SSI.
To be eligible for SSI, you also must have limited income and assets. The exact limits are somewhat elastic, as the SSA does not count all types of income and assets. However, you generally must have a very low income and limited assets to qualify.
SSI is funded by the general fund of the U.S. Treasury through taxes. Many people who qualify for SSI are also eligible for other forms of government assistance, such as Medicaid or food stamps.
Social Security Disability Insurance is not a needs-based program. Instead, you must not only be disabled per the SSA’s definition, but you must also have paid into the system by working. In addition, you must show that you are or will be unable to work for a year due to your disability to qualify.
The Social Security Administration examines an applicant’s work credits to determine SSDI eligibility. An individual can earn up to 4 credits per year by working and paying taxes. Generally, you need to have 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI; this number may be lower for younger people.
SSDI is funded through payroll taxes. That is why you must have worked and paid taxes in order to qualify. If you meet the eligibility requirements for SSDI, then you will be approved for benefits.
Is There an Asset or Income Limit for SSDI?
If you are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, you may be worried that you won’t qualify if you own a house or have a lot of money in the bank. In this situation, you probably would not qualify for SSI. However, you may still be eligible for SSDI.
The Social Security Administration does not limit the amount of resources, assets, or cash that a person can own for the SSDI program. In fact, you can be very wealthy and still qualify for SSDI.
However, to be eligible for SSDI, you must meet the definition of disabled. This includes proof that you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). This effectively acts as a type of income limit for SSDI. In 2023, you cannot earn more than $1,470 per month (or $2,460 if you are blind) and still qualify for SSDI.
Importantly, this income limit only applies to income that you earn from working. Remember: the Social Security Administration requires proof that you are unable to work due to a disability, using SGA as a guideline. If you have income from sources other than working or self-employment, then it will not be considered for SSDI purposes.
Generally, any type of unearned income will not be counted towards SGA for SSDI. Unearned income may include things like interest on investments, pension payments, veterans’ disability payments, or unemployment benefits. In other words, if you receive any type of income from a source other than working, you can still apply for and potentially be approved for SSDI.
How Bross & Frankel Can Help
The rules surrounding Social Security disability are complicated and can be confusing. Many people are overwhelmed trying to figure out which program they may qualify for and what they have to do to get benefits. Our law office can work with you to help you understand your options, and then apply for disability.
Bross & Frankel is dedicated to advocating for people with disabilities throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We offer free initial consultations for all prospective clients so that you have a better understanding of your rights. To learn more or to schedule a claim review with a New Jersey Social Security disability attorney, give us a call at 866-311-3786 or fill out our online contact form.
Rich Frankel is the managing partner of Bross & Frankel. He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars. He has focused exclusively on disability and social security benefits since 2005.
Mr. Frankel joined what is now Bross & Frankel after having watched his father struggle with disability, fighting a lengthy illness. Mr. Frankel founded the firm’s veteran’s law practice and substantially grew the social security disability practice, focusing Bross & Frankel’s ability to fight for all of the disability benefits available to his clients.
Mr. Frankel additionally fights for clients in court, obtaining frequent victories in Social Security appeals and against insurance companies in Federal court.