Georgia SSI/SSDI Benefits

The federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs differ in many ways, but they both pay monthly benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a disability, and have strict guidelines in place regarding what qualifies as a disability. If you suffer from a physical or mental disability that prevents you from working, contact an experienced SSI/SSDI attorney today, as you may qualify for disability benefits, which can help you cover the cost of your monthly expenses. When you work with a qualified Georgia SSI/SSDI disability lawyer, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected, and significantly improve your chances of successfully filing a disability claim and receiving the monthly SSI or SSDI benefits you are entitled to.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal, payroll tax-funded program that pays benefits to individuals with a physical or mental disability who worked long enough and recently enough to be “insured,” meaning they paid Social Security taxes and are eligible for benefits. In order to meet the earnings requirement for disability benefits and qualify for SSDI, you must pass two different earnings tests, a recent work test and a duration of work test. For example, if you become disabled in or before the quarter you turn age 24, then you’ll generally need 1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with the quarter your disability began, in order to qualify for benefits. You must also meet the Social Security Administration’s strict definition of disability.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federally-funded, needs-based disability program that pays monthly benefits to disabled, blind or aged individuals with little income or resources. Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income is funded from the U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust fund, and SSI benefits are based on financial need, not on the individual’s prior work history. As of 2017, the maximum monthly federal amounts for SSI benefits are $735 for an eligible individual, $1,103 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $368 for an essential person. While the amount of the federal SSI disability benefit administered by the federal government is the same in every state, in most states, the federal SSI benefit is supplemented by a small monthly benefit from the state.

State Disability Supplement in Georgia

Some states pay and administer their own additional benefits to supplement the monthly federal payment for SSI recipients, and Georgia is one of those states. The Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) provides a small state supplement for eligible SSI recipients living in Medicaid facilities, which makes the SSI supplement higher than the federal amount in those states. Like the SSI benefit amount, the state supplemental payment in Georgia varies depending on the individual’s income and living arrangements, among other factors, and the supplement is automatically administered, which means SSI recipients do not need to apply separately for the additional benefit.

An Experienced SSI/SSDI Attorney Can Help

Suffering a disability that prevents you from working and earning an income can be devastating, and according to the Social Security Administration, a 20-year-old worker has a one-in-four chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age. Unfortunately, only 29% of Georgia disability claims are approved during the initial application process, which means the majority of disabled individuals in Georgia who apply for benefits will have to file one or more appeals in order to receive their monthly payment. Furthermore, the average wait time for a disability applicant to obtain a hearing before an administrative law judge is between 406 and 538 days. This can be a frustrating process for individuals who have a legitimate claim for disability benefits, and it is recommended that those applying for SSI or SSDI benefits in Georgia enlist the help of a qualified disability attorney to improve their chances of a favorable outcome in their case.