I used to work for a law firm that did SSI and SSDI.
SSI = Supplemental Security Income
SSDI = Social Security Disability Insurance
For EITHER of these two benefits, you can only work 20 hours per week and no more. Social Security will deny your claim immediately if you are working over 20 hours at the time of filing, because in their reasoning, if you can work even a little over 20 hours per week, you are "not disabled enough" (their words, not mine).
Basically, SSI is dependent on your household income, your own income, your savings, any and all of your assets and resources minus one vehicle, and additional properties, etc. That means that everyone in your household who has income will count against your benefit amount if it's SSI and anything (besides your first car) can and will count against your benefit amount. Per Social Security's website, the current amount you get for SSI is: "$735 for an individual and $1,103 for a couple."
SSDI is dependent on your earnings and your taxes. The key word here is INSURANCE - Social Security Disability Insurance. Basically, you get what you pay into Social Security, because it is indeed an insurance. Now, SSDI benefit amounts can vary dramatically. It all depends on how much money you made over the last 10 years (depending on age) and how much of that you paid into Social Security.
A Social Security Disability claim takes, on average, 2 full years to be approved. The process is broken up into the following steps:
- Stage one: 4 to 6 months
- Stage two: file an appeal, wait another 4 to 6 months
- Stage three: file an appeal with request for court hearing, wait 8 months to 1 year
Most people get approved in stage 3, because that is when you finally get the chance to "prove" your case before a judge.
SSDI is very specific on qualifications based on your age and SSI is very specific on qualifications based on your household income assets and resources. So, the best way to find out if you meet the requirements is to call a lawyer who has a good reputation, and who does screenings for free, and just see if it's worth applying. You could also just reach out directly to your local Social Security office and inquire there. Do whatever you're more comfortable with.
"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
- You cannot do work that you did before;
- We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
Place to start: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/