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Can I collect disability benefits if I don’t qualify for SSDI?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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In previous posts, we have discussed the various eligibility requirements for people who wish to collect Social Security disability insurance, or SSDI. One such requirement is that you must have paid a certain amount of your income over the years into the Social Security system through paycheck contributions.

If you have not made these contributions, you will likely be denied SSDI, but you are not without options. There are other types of benefits for which you may be eligible, including Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.

SSI is a type of benefit that, like SSDI, is administered by the Social Security Administration. However, this money is reserved for people with limited financial means who are not old enough and/or have never been able to work in a capacity that allows them to contribute to SSDI.

According to the SSA website, you may be eligible for SSI if you are determined to be disabled and if you have limited resources. In order to assess this, the SSA will examine your financial situation. They will assess your:

  • Income, if any
  • Living situation (rent, utility obligations)
  • Other sources of financial government support
  • Property you own

If the income and property you have falls below a specific limit, you can qualify for benefits. This limit is $2,000 for an individual or child and $3,000 for a couple.

It is important to note here that you can face serious penalties if you give away money or property in an attempt to get below the above-mentioned limit. If the SSA finds that you have done this, it can put in place a 36-month period of ineligibility.

SSI can be a critical resource for support when people with limited resources are also unable to work in a capacity to support themselves. However, there are exceptions and exemptions to consider when it comes to SSI eligibility, so it can be wise to consult an attorney familiar with the Social Security system and the various types of benefits that you may be eligible to receive.