Difference between SSI & SSDI
Many people are not aware that there is a difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Social Security Insurance (SSI). Social Security Insurance is just that –A federal system that one involuntarily pays into while working, in order to receive retirement benefits at the prescribed age. The average Social Security income ranges in the between $800-1000 per month, depending on the amount one earned while one worked. There are various persons who may receive SSI OR SSDI benefits. For example you can be the son or daughter or spouse of someone who is deceased that worked and paid into the system and received SSI or SSDI.
SSDI Primary recipients
There are basically two types of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The most common type is for individuals who are severely and permanently disabled from birth or before the age of 22. The second type is for those who become disabled after the age of 22. In both cases the disability has to be verified by medical professionals with documentation approximately every one-two years. Temporary disabilities, such as injuries, usually don’t qualify one to receive SSDI benefits.
Who decides Social Security Disability Insurance eligibility?
The Social Security system is so overwhelmed, that most of the time one has to prove their case of disability beyond a shadow of a doubt. In essence one is considered an able bodied worker, capable of taking care of his or her basic needs, until there is an insurmountable amount of information and documentation that validates ones claim of disability.
Eligibility is usually determined by a state agency known as Disability Determination Service (DDS) not to be confused with the Department of Developmental Services who oversees services for persons with mental disabilities.
SSDI Eligibility requirements.
The four basic questions that Social Security asks and wants proof of are the following: First, is your medical condition so severe that it keeps you from working? If not is your medical condition on the List of Impairments or comparable to a condition on the list? Thirdly, are you able do the same type of work previously done? If not, are you able to do any type of work?
How SSI& SSDI works
The Social Security Administration will go through many lengths to disqualify and prolong the process of eligibility. If you are as seriously as ill as social security requires you to be, in order to receive a disability check, answering the many questions and corresponding with doctors becomes a very difficult process to navigate. The Social Security Administration claims that they will gather the information for you but in reality they can use the absence of information as a way to delay making a decision about your case. At this point I strongly suggest getting an advocate to secure information on your behalf.
Can be degrading and illogical system
The most degrading part about the entire process is for hard working individuals, who have paid into the system to have their integrity and intentions questioned. Now think about this logically. If you could work and earn three times or even one and a half times that of social security would you rather do that or just sit at home and collect minimal check? Ok there are a few simple minded people without a work ethic who might make that decision. But for the most part, people who have a history of working 10-15 years would not make that decision intentionally. Let’s weigh the logic in that. Should I give up my $20,000-30,000 a year income for a $12,000 a year income? Mmmm…tough decision.
The Social Security Disability Insurance Disability Trap
The bottom line is this. Social Security Disability Insurance is only for the most severe cases of disability. It is the Social Security Administration’s job to determine weather your situation qualifies you for a disability check. To make matters worse they are making these decisions in the most severe of economic times. Before applying for social security disability ask yourself some tough reflective questions. Am I injured or impaired to the point where I can not sit, stand or move my extremities enough to work or take care of myself? If I don’t receive the disability check will I be able to survive some other way? Are there simple remedies or actions that I can take that will improve my situation? Am I willing to do what it takes to get healthy? If there is a remote possibility that you can do any of these things to help your situation it is far easier to pursue them than to get caught in the social security disabilities benefits trap?
Mind over matter example
The social security trap I refer to is a psychosomatic theory by which being involved with social security perpetuates your condition and leaves you dependent on the system. For example, let’s say you work as a cashier and are diagnosed with a condition that limits your ability to stand or sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time. You apply for SSDI and your condition is confirmed by a physician. After 15 years of working, you settle into a routine of not working. You become lethargic a little restless and maybe slightly depressed. After about 7 months, you begin a new water therapy and vitamin that relieves the pain and improves your condition.
Redetermination Social Security Disability Insurance trap
Shortly after that, your social security redetermination papers arrive. This is a process where you have to prove weather or not you’re still disabled. Ergo the beginnings of the disability trap. Consciously or sub-consciously, you make a decision as to weather or not you’re well enough to return to work. The doctors are supposed to make this decision but you really make it by what and how you report to the doctors. That’s why SSA requires physical evidence and documentation.
Proving you’re still disabled trap
Even though you feel better and are recovering from you condition, you may decide not to take the risk of “saying” you feel better. Instead of taking the risk of being without income, you decide that you should try to convince DDS that you are still disabled. The trap begins in the thinking process where you convince or tell yourself that you are still very sick, and unable to work. As a result, your body may begin to manifest symptoms from before. When you revisit your doctor, you find that your symptoms and test show evidence of the diagnosis and no improvement.
You’ve just wiped away your actual progress psychologically. Even though you are actually doing better, you’ve just consciously or subconsciously convinced yourself and your body that you are not. And the cycle continues until you convince yourself and your body that you are permanently disabled and unable to work at all. The mind is powerful tool use it to your benefit not to your demise.
Social Security has realized that this is the case for many people who receive the benefits and have put incentives in place for people to return to work. For the most part, these systems do not have precedence and again are very difficult to navigate. As the current economic situation worsens and more people are without jobs these incentives seem bleak and at best. As bleak as they may appear they are still opportunities that can be taken advantage of and with the proper direction should be tested.
Be true to yourself
On the other hand, if you are truly severely disabled, beyond a shadow of a doubt, then make the claim. And prayerfully the doctors and evidence will validate the severity of your disability. If they don’t find you eligible there is an appeals process in place to help you make and present your case. I strongly suggest at this point getting a representative only after you have completed an honest self reflection and determined that you are in need of assistance.
Everyone has something to offer
It is my belief that every person no matter how disabled has something of value to contribute society. It is that participation that sometimes leads to employment, quality of life and economic independence. After all isn’t that why we work so that we can live. Studies show that individuals who participate in purposeful and meaningful activities are healthier and lead more productive lives.
What is my purpose?
It is not the responsibility of the Social Security Administration or the government to provide funds for quality of life instead it is our society at large that should to reevaluate what is needful and necessary to live a life of quality and purpose. We may find that it has nothing to do with money and everything to do with our how we spend our days and weather or not our greater purpose in life is being fulfilled.