Can You Transition From SSI benefits to SSDI benefits?

Can You Transition From SSI benefits to SSDI benefits?

The primary difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is that SSDI is an earned benefit while SSI is intended for low-income individuals and people over 65. Qualifying for SSDI involves working and earning taxable wages to accumulate enough credits for receiving monthly benefits. Alternately, if you do not have enough credits to qualify for SSDI and have limited income, the Social Security Administration may approve you for SSI benefits. In addition, SSDI is a program supported by taxes while SSI is supported by the federal government.

How Can Someone Transition from SSI to SSDI?

People receiving SSI who unexpectedly became disabled in their 20s or 30s may not have worked enough years to qualify for SSDI. At first glance, it seems unlikely for someone on SSI to transition from SSI to SSDI. But under certain SSA guidelines, it may be possible.

SSI recipients who began receiving benefits before the age of 22 could transition to SSDI if one parent becomes disabled, passes away or retires. The SSA’s Disabled Adult Child Program permits qualified SSI recipients to transition to SSDI so they can receive half of a parent’s Social Security benefits or 75 percent of a parent’s benefits if that parent dies. If the new SSDI payments are more than the previous SSI payments, this will stop the recipient from receiving SSI payments altogether.

Medicaid eligibility is not affected by the transition from SSI to SSDI benefits as long as the SSDI recipient is single or married to someone who is also receiving Disabled Adult Child Program benefits. Moreover, after a beneficiary receives SSDI for two years, they also begin accessing Medicare benefits.

Transitioning from SSI to SSDI By Earning Credits

Depending on the severity of their disability, some SSI recipients are capable of working part-time. It is possible they could eventually accumulate enough work credits to transition from SSI to SSDI at some point. If you are an SSI beneficiary who works part-time, keep careful track of your hours worked and how many credits you have accumulated from paying Social Security taxes.

What exactly are work credits? The SSA bases the amount of work credits workers receive on total annual wages. Workers are limited to earning no more than four credits per year. Currently, anyone paying Social Security taxes through employment will earn one credit when they have made $1,400 in wages. Once you have earned four credits, this means you have earned $5,640. Earning beyond this amount will not give you more credits for that year. However, younger workers could qualify for SSDI with less credits than older workers need to receive SSDI.

Contact Joel Thrift Law Today for Immediate Legal Help with Disability Claims

Navigating the complexities of applying for SSI or SSDI or transitioning from one disability program to another can be time-consuming and stressful when you are the one disabled or you are taking care of a disabled individual. Joel Thrift Law has been helping clients get the disability benefits they deserve by representing them after they have been denied by the SSA or handling their disability claim from the beginning. Call us today to learn more about transitioning from SSI to SSDI or to schedule a consultation appointment.

Keys for Finding Social Security Lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia

Keys for Finding Social Security Lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia

Navigating the waters of the Social Security Administration’s requirements can be a challenge that requires help to accomplish. If you plan to apply for SSDI or SSI, you’ll need professional and experienced legal help, so it’s important to find the right attorney. You need a lawyer you can trust and who specializes in social security law. Learn these important keys to finding the right social security lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, and where you can go for help with your application or appeal.

Beware of Promises

The best social security lawyers won’t deliver promises or guarantees that you’ll get approved or get a certain amount of dollars for your injuries. A good attorney will discuss the strengths of your case with you and will point out any issues you might have. They will give their opinion on your chances but will never make a promise. What they will do is talk straight to you at all times and always be realistic about where your case is and where they see it going. Beware of those who make promises of specific dollar figures or who guarantee victory. 

Free Consultation

A good attorney will be willing to sit down with you for a free consultation on your case. Even more, while you may speak to a staff member on your initial phone call, your initial face-to-face meeting will be with the actual attorney who will be handling your case. Social Security attorneys are very busy, but it’s important to find one who will take the time to work directly with you. You want an attorney who will make you a priority and who will always be willing to give you the personal time you need. 

Research Online

Do some research on the attorney you’re considering. You want to know what their approval rate is and how often they win full benefits as opposed to partial or refusals. Research their credentials, experience and qualifications. Check into their case history as far as you can. Many attorneys will list such qualifications right on their own website. You can also search them through your local bar association. 

Seek Recommendations

If you have a general attorney, they might be able to recommend a Social Security lawyer to you. If you know people who have gone through the process, they might be able to offer recommendations. Word of mouth can be a great way to find a reliable lawyer. Failing this, simply look up the attorneys you are considering online and see what their ratings and reviews are. You can also check with your local bar association for information.

Ask Questions

While some of your research can be done online, some will need to come from direct questions in your consultation. Find out who will be handling your case, if there’s a central point of contact who will be dedicated to communications with you, and what their communication policies are.

Some firms assign paralegals to represent clients; but if you can find one that offers an actual attorney to represent you, you will likely be better off. An attorney will be more well-versed in the ins and outs of Social Security law and will be better poised to represent you.

Finally, at your initial consultation, ask about your attorney’s case history, their track record of winning and exactly how they will handle your case. A good attorney will be happy to answer any questions you have. 

Educate Yourself

Finally, educate yourself on the basics of Social Security law. Read as much as you can find from the Social Security website and be as familiar as you can. That way, when you speak with your attorney, you’ll be armed with the specific questions you need to have answered. A bit of knowledge can go a very long way in choosing the right attorney.

Social Security Lawyer Atlanta

If you’re in the Atlanta area and you need help with a social security case, Joel Thrift Law LLC can help. For over a decade, Joel Thrift has represented hundreds of clients and recovered millions in settlements. He values communication and always makes an effort to return calls promptly. If you’re looking for a Social Security lawyer in Atlanta that you can trust, call Joel Thrift Law LLC today.

What’s the difference between SSDI & Long-Term Disability (ERISA)?

What's the difference between SSDI & Long-Term Disability (ERISA)?

ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act) is a federal law established in 1974 that sets minimum standards for pension, health, life and disability insurance plans offered by employers to employees. Applying only to nongovernmental (private sector) companies, ERISA guidelines further require employers to provide workers with a “grievance and appeals” procedure through which they can receive benefits. Additionally, ERISA protects all employees from violations by plan fiduciaries. A fiduciary is a person given discretionary control over benefits and management of plans. ERISA mandates that a fiduciary works solely in the best interest of plan members.

Alternately, employers hire fiduciaries to develop employee retirement plans that do not pose financial risks to their business. If a fiduciary is responsible for retirement plans that cause large losses for employees participating in an ERISA plan, that individual could be held accountable for replacing that loss.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

If you become disabled, have paid a certain amount of Social Security taxes and have worked enough in the past to accumulate “credits”, the Social Security Administration will pay monthly benefits to you if your claim is approved. Also called “total disability”, SSDI is only awarded to claimants who are unable to do any kind of “gainful employment” for at least one year.

SSDI should not be confused with Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federally funded disability benefit meant for people who have little income and have not worked long enough to earn sufficient credits to qualify for SSDI.

What is the Difference Between Private Disability Insurance (ERISA) and SSDI?

The main difference between ERISA disability benefits and SSDI is the fact that private disability insurance (PDI) is provided by Standard, Hartford and other large insurance companies while SSDI is provided by Social Security taxes paid for by people who earn wages.

Other differences between PDI and SSDI include:

  • PDIs are contracts between insured individuals and private insurance companies designed to provide monetary coverage in case the employee becomes disabled and cannot work. The definition of whether an employee is disabled is usually defined by the insurer. SSDI benefits have nothing to do with a contract. Instead, it is wholly based on a person’s work history and amount of Social Security taxes they have paid
  • In some cases, PDIs may offer more coverage than SSDI. Further, certain private insurance companies may have a less strict definition of what constitutes a disability than criteria listed in the SSA’s Blue Book of Impairments.
  • Employees making ERISA claims are more likely to encounter aggressive questioning by private insurer attorneys regarding the validity of their disability. Alternately, SSDI claims are not represented by SSA attorneys. Instead, any appeal of an SSDI denial is heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who reviews the denial process performed by SSA claims agents

What To Do If Your Private Disability Insurance Company Denies Your Claim

Generic PDI claim denials, refusal of employers to work with employees who have become disabled and lack of assistance from PDIs regarding appeals are just a few reasons why you should contact an attorney specializing in ERISA claims as soon as you experience problems with a PDI claim.

Alternately, you might want to schedule a consultation appointment with Joel Thrift Law to determine if there is also a warranted SSDI claim we can help you submit and get approved. In many cases, we find our clients do have an existing SSDI claim that is valid concurrent with their ERISA long-term disability claims. Whether you are having problems understanding an ERISA or SSDI/SSI claim, our Atlanta disability attorneys offer expertise and guidance throughout the submission and approval process.

Call Joel Thrift Law today for immediate legal help with your SSDI/SSI application.