Disability and Employment Resources
SSDI and SSI
There are two forms of U.S. government sponsored disability payments for individuals who are no longer able to work due to a disabling condition:
- Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI)
SSDI is an award based on your payments into the federal Social Security system while working. If you have paid enough into the system across the years, you may be eligible for SSDI. Individuals awarded SSDI are also eligible for Medicare.
SSI is for individuals at very low income levels who cannot work due to disability, but is not dependent upon any prior payments into the social security system. Individuals awarded SSI are also eligible for Medicaid coverage.
In some cases, a person may be eligible for both SSDI and SSI. In such a case, a person could get monthly benefits from each program. However, the monetary amount for each benefit would be adjusted so that the total amount would be similar to what would have been received under just one benefit program.
For individuals on SSDI or SSI looking to re-enter the workplace, the social security program does offer services to assist with this. These include employment supports and incentives to assist the person on SSDI or SSI with entering or re-entering the work force and becoming self-sufficient.
Additional information about these programs can be found on the following ssa.gov link:
Other resources are the Vocational Rehabilitation agencies present in every U.S. state. These agencies receive both state and federal funding for the purpose of assisting individuals with disabilities in finding meaningful employment. Job counselors at the agencies may assist with helping find work that is matched to both abilities and skill level. Assistance regarding transportation, skill training, and networking may also be offered. The number of agency offices in an area, agency funding, and the extent of services provided does vary across states.
A quick online search for "vocational rehab, disability, [state name]" will typically bring up the webpage for the Vocational Rehabilitation agency in your state.
Often people ask if they need an attorney to file for disability. If you can gather the pertinent medical records and put it together in the most favorable way, it is optional. Attorney fees are capped at 25% of the back pay up to a $6,000 fee.
Although it is optional to use an attorney to initially file, if denied you should see an attorney prior to an appeal. To read more about legal assistance in disability check this site: Disability Benefits Help.
Page last updated February 28, 2019