SSDI, SSI, Estate Planning, Elder Law & Medi-Cal Planning in California

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What Does It Take to Qualify for SSI and SSDI?

SSDI Attorney in San Bernardino, CA.
SSDI Attorney in San Bernardino, CA.

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) are government programs designed to help people with blindness and disabilities or who are 65 or older. You must understand precisely what these programs offer and what it takes to qualify for them.


Your dad has Alzheimer’s and can no longer work but needs income. You can’t afford to pay his bills. SSI and SSDI help in situations like this.


Explore SSI/Supplemental Security Income


SSI is available to people with limited income or even no income. It provides enough money to pay for necessities like food, clothing, and housing. To qualify, you must meet the criteria in this checklist.


  • Be 65 or older and/or be blind or disabled (20/200 vision or lower is required to qualify for blindness)
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or qualifying alien.
  • Live in one of the 50 states, Washington D.C., or the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Not living outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days
  • Not be staying in a government-funded institution, such as prison or a hospital
  • Meet the income requirements
  • Have limited resources, such as stocks, savings, equity in a home


When applying for SSI, you must also apply for pensions or Social Security programs. You must permit the Social Security Administration to access your banks and other financial institutions to look into your finances.


If you qualify for SSI, you receive benefits each month. As of 2022, the benefits are $1,261 for a couple and $841 for an individual. It’s not a lot of money, but it can make a big difference to someone unable to work due to blindness, age, or disability.


Explore SSDI/Social Security Disability Insurance


If you are not yet 65 but have to stop working, SSDI helps out. In your dad’s case, he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in his 50s. He’s not old enough for Social Security but lacks the skills to continue working. SSDI is a good option, but there are qualifications, starting with how many works credits your dad has earned in the past decade.


SSDI is only available if you’ve earned enough work credits. People who work earn up to four credits per year. The rate can change, but in 2022, you get one credit for every $1,510 in wages, and it’s capped at four credits per year.


To qualify for SSDI, you need 40 credits, with at least 20 of them earned in the past ten years. If your dad has dementia and stopped working five years ago, as long as he has 40 credits and 20 of them were earned in the ten years before he stopped working, he should qualify. When he reaches retirement age, he’ll switch to Social Security.


The average monthly SSDI payment in 2022 is about $1,361. Men tend to get higher payments ($1,495) than women ($1,227), so your dad may get more than the average amount. The only way to know for sure is by applying for SSDI.


Some people will qualify for both SSI and SSDI. The rules can be complex and hard to understand, so it helps to work with a specialist in SSI and SSDI elder law. It’s best to work with an SSI and SSDI lawyer. You’ll have much better odds of your dad’s application being completed correctly and approved. Don’t hesitate to reach an SSI and SSDI elder law attorney to help you.

The Law Office of James Dolenga offers SSDI, SSI, Estate Planning, Elder Law & Medi-Cal Planning in San Bernardino, California. Call today for your legal consultation. (866) 772-5299


James Dolenga, JD
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