Social Security Disability Vs. Supplemental Security Income

A safety net for the elderly and disabled

At Gardner, Barrow & Sharpe P.C. we take pride in providing service to our community. It’s especially rewarding when we can help someone truly in need — perhaps a parent and breadwinner who is permanently unable to work because of an injury or illness, or a senior citizen left penniless by overwhelming medical bills. Our Martinsville Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) attorneys can help you obtain the benefits you need and are entitled to.

If you’re not sure what benefits you’re eligible for, our office can help you figure out the complicated application process or file an appeal if your application was denied.

Social Security disability insurance

Social Security disability insurance pays benefits to you and possibly to certain family members if you are eligible, meaning that you worked long enough and paid taxes into the Social Security system.

Your medical condition must meet the requirements for disability — specifically:

  • You cannot do work that you did before.
  • You cannot adapt to other work because of your medical condition.
  • Your disability is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. There are no provisions for partial or short-term disability.

If your application is approved, you will receive SSDI benefits regardless of your current household income or other resources.

Once you have been receiving SSDI payments for two full years, you are automatically eligible for Medicare coverage.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a needs-based program, meaning that it pays benefits based on your financial need, even if you haven’t paid into the Social Security system.

SSI is designed to help elderly (age 65 or older), blind and disabled people who have little or no income and few resources by providing cash to meet basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. It is a federal program funded by general tax revenues, not Social Security taxes.

If you qualify for SSI, you may also be eligible for Medicaid. However, you won’t receive Medicaid automatically because Virginia has a separate application process. One of our compassionate attorneys at Gardner, Barrow & Sharpe P.C. can explain the eligibility requirements and help you fill in and submit the application.