Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of common questions asked about Social Security Benefits. If your question is not answered here you are welcome to Click Here and ask a question.

1. What is SSI?

SSI (Title XVI) is a financial need-based Social Security program that provides benefits to disabled or blind individuals, and the elderly who have little or no income or assets.

2. Can a claimant qualify for both SSDI and SSI?

Yes. This happens when a claimant has earned enough credits to be insured for SSDI eligibility and also meets the financial requirements for SSI eligibility. SSDI is the primary payer and SSI is secondary.

3. What is Medicare, and when does it begin?

Medicare (Title 21) is Social Security's health insurance program for the insured elderly and those receiving SSDI benefits. If a worker is determined to be disabled, the worker must wait two years from the date of eligibility for SSDI cash benefits before the worker is eligible for Medicare benefits.

4. What is Medicaid, and when does it begin?

Medicaid (Title 19) is SSA's need based health program for those who meet income and resource guidelines. Medicaid begins as soon as eligibility for cash benefits begins.

5. Can a claimant be entitled to both Medicare and Medicaid?

Yes, if a claimant is eligible for both SSDI and SSI. Medicare is the primary payer and Medicaid is secondary.

6. Is Social Security a federal or state program?

It is a federal program created by Congress and funded by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). The federal government contracts with the individual states to make decisions at the initial and reconsideration levels according to rules established by the Social Security Administration.

7. What are the qualifications for disability benefits?

The worker is entitled to Social Security disability benefits if the following are satisfied:
  1. The worker is under 65 years of age;
  2. The worker is both fully and currently insured status;
  3. The worker has been disabled for five full consecutive months;
  4. The worker has a disability; and
  5. The worker applies while disabled or no later than twelve months after the month the disability ended.

8. What does “disability” mean?

To be determined disabled, a claimant must satisfy: 1) the SSA’s definition of disability (specifically the twelve-month durational requirement) and 2) the SSA’s five-step sequential evaluation process.