Social security disability & veteran disability benefits


There are two common disability payment programs administered by the Social Security Administration. Those are the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) and the Social Security Income Program (SSI).

While both programs utilize similar standards for establishing “disability,” and provide a certain amount of income replacement to disabled individuals, they differ in several other areas. Perhaps the most important of these differences is in eligibility.

Generally, to be eligible for SSDI, an individual must not only prove that he or she is disabled, but also that he or she worked and contributed to the Social Security system for a certain period of time before claiming disability (often referred to as work credits).

Eligibility for SSI does not depend on contribution requirements, but instead requires that a person be disabled, blind, or aged 65 or older, and “have low income and few resources”. This is more of a welfare type benefit for low income and disabled individuals who have not worked long enough to have sufficient work credits for SSDI.

The two programs also differ in how the monthly benefit is determined—for SSDI, the calculation focuses on and can vary depending on the individual’s earnings history, while the SSI benefit is “based on need”.

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI), you must be below the retirement age, be insured (having sufficient work credits in the system based on your employment history) and be unable to work due to a disabling physical or mental injury or medical condition. Your dependents may also be qualified to receive benefits if you qualify for SSDI.

The programs administered by the Social Security Administration are permanent disability programs and you must be totally and permanently disabled to qualify. You must be unable to perform your past work or any other substantial work, and your disability must have already lasted or be expected to last for a period of 12 months or more.

Disabled children may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or "SSI." If their disability continues into adulthood, they may qualify for disability insurance benefits on the earnings records of their parents.

How to Apply for Benefits

The first step is the Initial Application. Our attorney will help you complete and submit a thorough application, focusing on the specific details of medical history and physical and/or mental impairments with supporting medical records and other documentation to improve your chances of getting approved at the initial stage.

The second step is the Reconsideration. If you are denied at the initial stage of the process, the next step is to file a Request for Reconsideration. This is basically a request that your file be reviewed by a different person at the Disability Determination Services because you disagree with the initial denial. You can submit additional evidence and explain why you think the initial decision was in error.

The third step is the Administrative Hearing. At this stage, you will appear before an Administrative Law Judge (either virtually or in person) and be examined on your work history, medical history and specific impairments, medical treatment, physical limitations, etc. to determine if you are unable to perform substantial work and qualify for disability benefits. Many cases are won at this stage, and an initial denial does not mean you are not disabled or that you won't get your benefits. The SSA will pay you a lump sum commonly called back pay for the amount of disability earned from the date your are determined to be disabled until you are approved for disability, along with monthly disability benefit payments based on your income from your work history.

The fourth step is the Appeals Council. If you are denied benefits by the Administrative Law Judge, you can appeal the decision to the Appeals Council. This is the final level of the SSA's administrative review of your claim for disability hardest level of the process to win. The Appeals Council will review the case to determine any errors made by the Administrative Law Judge. They can either decide your case or remand it back to an administrative law judge for further review.

Compassionate Allowances

Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security's standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. Individuals who are diagnosed with a medical condition on the list of compassionate allowances can cut down on their approval time for receiving disability benefits. The Compassionate Allowances program identifies claims where the applicant’s disease or condition clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. A list of the Social Security Administration's Compassion Allowances is listed here.

Call our office today at 803-929-0577 for a FREE CONSULTATION. If will cost you nothing to speak with our attorney, get a review of your case and get representation. You will not pay any legal fee unless we help you win the benefits that you have earned throughout your work history. These are benefits that you have earned and are entitled to. Call today if you are unable to work due to a medical condition or injury, and let us help you get benefits you deserve for you and your family.


The Veterans Administration pays disability compensation to veterans who have a service-connected disability resulting from a condition or injury that was caused during or a pre-existing injury that was aggravated by active military service. SSDI and VA disability compensations are not affected by each other, so you may be eligible to receive both