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Overview of the Social Security Disability Program

May 4, 2018

Many residents of Jackson, Kentucky, may have a general idea that the federal government offers benefits to those who are legally disabled. However, they may not know exactly how the government's program works, even if they should find themselves suddenly unable to work and in need of financial help.

The federal Social Security Disability program actually consists of two types of benefits, which are referred to in shorthand as SSDI benefits and SSI benefits. These benefits are different primarily in terms of their financial and work history eligibility criteria. SSDI requires an applicant to have a substantial work history since it is effectively a program under which a disabled person draws retirement benefits early.

SSI, on the other hand, does not require a Kentucky resident to have a work history; however, as it is a needs-based program, a person applying for SSI will have to meet strict income and asset requirements. Even disabled children can receive SSI benefits.

For both types of benefits, a person is going to have to apply through the Social Security Administration and, in that application, prove the person has a "disability" as the Administration defines that term. While the Administration's definition involves nuanced legal concepts, the idea behind it is that an applicant has to be incapable of supporting himself or herself because of his or her medical condition or conditions. These conditions must be either terminal or permanent in the sense that they are expected to last more than one year.

Applying for disability benefits is a complicated process, and the process gets even more involved should it be necessary for a person to appeal an initial denial of benefits. This is why many ill or injured Kentuckians get the help of a Social Security attorney when pursuing benefits.