Dear LawTalk, What is the difference between SSI and Social Security Disability? I was told that I am not eligible for Social Security because I did not work enough. Dear Reader, Social Security disability benefits (SSD) are for people who are disabled and have paid enough money to the Social Security system to be eligible. Generally, to be eligible, a person must have worked for 10 full years. Also, a person must have worked at least five years out of the 10 years before becoming disabled. If you are disabled and qualify for Social Security Disability you will receive monthly benefits based on the amount of money that you have paid into the system. This can be as high as $2,000 a month (although for most people who have worked for all of their adult life, it is around $1500 a month). Social Security disability recipients receive Medicare healthcare. If you are financially eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you still need to prove that you cannot perform any work (not even easy or sedentary work) to receive these benefits. Often people who cannot work are denied by Social Security and need to hire a lawyer to file an appeal. If you are denied, please call us for a free consultation. We can tell you whether or not you have a strong claim. We do not charge for representation in Social Security or SSI cases unless we win. Mark Dear Reader, On the other hand SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is not based on your earnings. A person who cannot perform any work can get SSI if they have no other income (or very little income). Also, a person who is 65 or older can get SSI if they are not working and do not qualify for Social Security. The current maximum payment in New York is $690 for SSI. Also, a person who is eligible for SSI automatically qualifies for Medicaid healthcare. The income standards for SSI eligibility include a spouses income, so a disabled person who does not have enough work credits from SSI and whose spouse earns over the guideline amount is not eligible for any benefits. As with Social Security, a person has to prove through medical reports that they cannot do any work, not even sedentary work. If you think that you are disabled and cannot do any work, feel free to call our office for a free consultation so that we can answer your questions and help you understand the process for Social Security disability or SSI. Dan The information provided in LawTalk is meant to be for informational purposes only and is not meant to be legal advice because each situation must be discussed and analyzed by an attorney after reviewing all of the facts. Because the information provided is general and the law often contains exceptions and differences for unique situations, readers should always discuss their situation in detail with a local licensed attorney.