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What Exactly Is Social Security Disability Under Arkansas Law?

In this article, you will learn:

  • General information about social security disability insurance
  • The difference between the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) disability program
  • What ailments qualify for Social Security benefits
  • Who may be eligible for SSI and SSDI disability benefits

To be clear, Social Security is a federal system that is administered at the initial stages by the state, in Arkansas, through the Disability Determination Services (“DDS”). SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and it is found under Title 16 of the Social Security Act. To qualify for SSI, you have to prove two key things. First, SSI is a needs-based program, so you must meet the needs test. In other words, you have to show that you are on the lower end economically. If you pass the needs test, you then must clear the hurdle of proving that you’re physically or mentally disabled to such an extent that you can’t work. SSI differs from SSDI, which requires that you worked and paid into the Social Security system to get vested for insured status purposes. SSI is for people that have not worked much and then become disabled or who have not paid enough into the Social Security system to qualify for SSDI.

What Is SSDI?

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance and it is found under Title 2 of the Social Security Act. To qualify for SSDI, you have to have worked and paid into the Social Security system enough quarters from the date you alleged you became disabled to qualify. Basically you have to be vested which is determined by the income you earn and amount you pay into the social security system on a quarterly basis.

Many people don’t understand that you can work for 20 years straight and then stop working and paying in for 5 years or 20 full quarters, and if on the 21st quarter you become disabled, you’re not going to be insured. Unlike retirement, where you stay vested until you reach your age of retirement, you can lose your vesting in the disability SSDI program if you wait too long to file for disability benefits.

Who Is Eligible For SSDI And SSI?

There are many different avenues for pursuing SSDI and SSI benefits for individuals depending on their situation in life, including children, adults, and various other special circumstances that may arise depending on people’s relationships with one another. Children can qualify for SSI if they have a mental or physical impairment that is severe and meets the definitions for children’s claims. You also have adults that have worked and paid into the Social Security system, and adults that have not worked and paid enough in but may still qualify for SSI under the needs-based test.

We also have specific programs based on different life circumstances, for example, a disabled adult child program. Under this program, if you show you’re disabled before your 22nd birthday and you have a parent who is either retired or disabled themselves, you can draw under your parent’s record, and that’s also a Title 2 SSDI program. Another example is widow’s benefits, which require you to be of a certain age and have been married for a certain length of time to the person whose benefits you are going to draw under this program.

What Physical Disabilities Would Qualify For SSDI Or SSI Benefits?

Anything from a physical standpoint that causes symptoms like pain, fatigue, or lack of mobility, or anything that interferes with a person’s physical functioning, like their ability to sit, stand, walk, bend, stoop, lift, carry, or handle can qualify you for SSI or SSDI benefits. Any type of limitation of functions that most people have to do for any kind of job for an extended period of time come into play. Social Security will look to determine what’s called a person’s residual functional capacity, which is the maximum a person can do given their severe physical impairments and the symptoms and limitations that flow from those symptoms.

While there are numerous physical impairments that can be disabling, how I win most disability cases is by focusing on the symptoms that the physical impairments cause. Having done thousands of disability claims, the first and foremost disabling symptom is chronic pain, such as back pain, neck pain, bilateral knee pain, bilateral feet pain, or arthritis in various parts of a person’s body. I have dealt with many disabilities dealing with the symptoms cause by diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, breathing limitations associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma as well as many disabilities associated with symptoms from heart issues, cancer, kidney and liver failure and seizures. There is not one impairment over another that makes the most difference, rather it is the symptoms caused by the medically determinable impairment and the medical evidence showing how those symptoms limit a disabled persons functioning.

What About Any Mental Disabilities? Is Any Of That Covered?

SSI and SSDI also cover mental disabilities. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and many others cause symptoms that make getting and keeping a job impossible. The symptoms caused by mental disabilities interfere with a person’s ability to concentrate and focus, stay on task, handle work stress, interact appropriately with their co-workers, supervisors and the general public. Many disabled persons suffering from symptoms associated with their mental impairments have difficulty getting to work on time and frequent absenteeism can be a big issue when a person his limited by their mental functioning. Finally, intellectual disabilities are both due a individual born with limitations which leads them to have a low IQ and sometimes an otherwise healthy person has an injury to their brain that has lowered their mental functioning. While these are examples of ailments that may qualify an individual for disability for mental impairments, there are many more mental illnesses that can also help qualify a person for disability benefits.

For more information on Social Security Disability Law In Arkansas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (866) 253-2226 today.

Thurman & Flanagin Attorneys At Law

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