You’ve battled symptoms for months and years and have had your life turned upside down. Now you finally have a diagnosis and are on your way to managing your silent disability. As you put together the pieces of what life looks like after a diagnosis, you may wonder about your options for working and government assistance. Whether or not you can work or have been able to work in the past will determine your eligibility for different government services under SSI or SSDI.
The Main Difference Between SSI/SSDI
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays benefits to you if you worked and paid into Social Security taxes, calculated as work credits. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources and have limited or no work history. It is also strictly need-based, deriving from income and assets, and is funded by general fund taxes (not from the Social Security trust fund).
Applying for Benefits
Applying for benefits is not as easy as filling out your information on a few forms; it will take a lot of leg work on your part and communication with your healthcare professionals. Besides the necessary demographic information, your education, work history, and detailed medical information will be collected and scrutinized. Along the journey, it is highly probable that you may get denied. To avoid this from happening or to get ahead of what you need during the appeals process, make sure you understand all of the requirements and documentation required, and then get more.
Being Denied Benefits
Being denied benefits is relatively common, so don’t get discouraged. After being denied, you can opt for the appeals process. During this stage, you will get access to details of why you were denied and what other documentation can help when appealing. This is also a stage where people learn that their medical documentation doesn’t entirely paint an accurate picture of their symptoms.
If you need help after being denied SSI or SSDI benefits, you can be connected with a government-sponsored advocate to assist you with the process. If you need support with medical documentation, SilentDisabilities.life has a patient packet with various forms that can help you track symptoms and communicate with your doctors.
The process of applying and being awarded SSI or SSDI benefits can be a long and arduous one, but you don’t have to do it alone. Below are several resources that can connect you to the information you need to educate yourself to get the services and benefits you need to live your best life.
- SilentDisabilities.life Podcast: October’s Experience filing for SSI and SSDI Kick off your Shoes! Episode 2
- Initial filing of benefits https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/
- Ticket to Work Program and other options https://www.myemploymentoptions.com/
- living outside the U.S. and benefits https://www.ssa.gov/foreign/
You can also contact us below for more information about filing and purchasing patient forms.
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