Fighting to get the SSI/Disability Benefits you deserve after becoming unable to work because of an illness or disability can be a frustrating and difficult process. At Thurman & Flanagin, we guide each client through the disability application process from initial application to appeal so that their mind can be at ease. We’ve helped thousands of clients get the SSI/Disability benefits they need and deserve. Our experience includes handling appeals in administrative arenas and federal court.
Understanding SSI and SSDI
There are two programs offered to people with disabilities through the federal government’s Social Security Administration.
- Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) is a federal income supplement program that is designed to help people with little or no income because they fall into one of three categories: the aged, people who are blind and people with disabilities. SSI provides cash to meet basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. It is based on financial need.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to a person or certain members of that person’s family if the person has worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
What is a disability?
This may sound like an absurd question, but not all people with disabilities are considered “disabled” under the Social Security rules. Social Security only pays for “total disability” not partial or short-term disability. Total disability is based on the individual’s inability to work, generally using the following three criteria:
- The individual cannot perform the same work as before the disability
- The Social Security Administration decides that the individual cannot adjust to other work due to the person’s medical condition
- The disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
What if I’m denied?
Being denied for disability benefits after the initial application is not uncommon; in fact it’s usually expected. We tell clients to not lose hope and that we can help them with the appeal process. Clients need to be able to help us obtain medical information and work history information to prove their disability claim.