Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSDI) are benefits provided to individuals based on their assets, income and needs. However, there are significant differences between both programs and who is entitled to receive benefits.
The SSI Program
The Supplemental Security Income program was developed on a stringent need-only basis for benefits are provided to individuals in an amount in accordance with the beneficiary’s assets and income. The funds are provided through general fund taxes. Often referred to as a “means-tested” program, Supplemental Security Insurance is not associated with an individual’s work history but based on their financial needs.
Disabled individuals who are eligible for SSI benefits might also receive Medicaid through the state’s insurance system. In addition to financial benefits, recipients might also be provided food stamps.
The SSDI Program
Alternatively, the Social Security Disability Insurance program is funded through the individual’s payroll taxes. The benefits are provided through “insurance” because the individual has contributed to their Social Security trust fund through FICA taxes. Every recipient through the SSDI program must be 64 years old or younger and have earned a specific amount of “work credits.” In some scenarios, the spouse or dependents of the disabled individual might also receive partial payments known as “auxiliary benefits.”
The SSDI program is not state-sponsored with supplemental payments. However, additional benefits through the SSI program might be provided as a state supplement.
Rhode Island meets the national average of receiving disability benefits that tend to vary between states. Approximately one out of every three initial applications is accepted for compensation while another one out of nine requires a Reconsideration Review. Nearly one-half of all cases for supplemental security income benefits will involve an appeal hearing with an average wait time for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge of more than 375 days.
Rhode Island has a State Supplemental Payment (SSP) benefit that is awarded through the state’s Department of Human Services (DHS). Beneficiaries in the state receive two checks every month, from SSA (Social Security Administration) and DHS.
Developing a Case for Compensation
Nearly every individual applying for SSI and SSDI has little comprehension on how to prepare a claim for compensation to present their case at a hearing. As a result, they often hire a skilled Rhode Island attorney or MA SSI lawyer to serve as a legal representative and advocate. These RI SSDI lawyers have expertise and familiarity with the rules and regulations of the Social Security Administration. The Rhode Island Social security disability lawyer or Massachusetts SSDI attorneys can provide legal assistance in developing a case for compensation. As an effective disability advocate, the MA (mass.) or RI attorney understands exactly what the administrative judge wants to review, including a particular medical condition and much-needed answers from the claimant’s doctor.
These Mass or RI attorneys work on contingency and are only paid when the claimant wins their case. The Massachusetts or Rhode Island lawyer provides a variety of services including:
• Locating and acquiring essential medical documents, test results and diagnoses.
• Acquiring detailed written statements from each treating physician
• The use of their expertise to complete the application documentation, meeting all SSA regulations to complete the disability adjudication process
The majority of unrepresented individuals who have successfully completed their claim and won an award often do not receive the best “onset date” that determines the amount of back pay they will receive. Alternatively, a skilled Rhode island or Massachusetts attorney will know how to provide evidence of the earliest onset date to ensure the claimant receives benefits from the beginning of their disability or financial needs and not from the time their case is resolved.
The sooner the claimant hires a Rhode island or MA attorney to apply for benefits the better. This is because receiving benefits through both the SSDI and SSI programs can take a significant amount of time.