Disability Benefit Programs and Technical Eligibility Criteria
As previously mentioned the SSA offers two different types of benefits to individuals who meet the official standard of disability. These benefits are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program provides benefits to different groups of people and each has separate technical eligibility requirements.
SSDI is a type of insurance program offered to disabled workers and their eligible family members. SSDI is funded by Social Security taxes paid by workers across the country. To qualify for SSDI, applicants must have worked and paid taxes for a set amount of time. Typically, this means that applicants must have worked and contributed taxes for five of the last ten years. However, this can vary depending on an applicant’s age at the time they became disabled. To learn more about qualifying for SSDI, visit the following page.
SSI is a needs-based benefit program that offers financial assistance to elderly, blind and disabled individuals who earn very little income. Eligibility for SSI benefits is based solely on an applicant’s income and financial resources. To qualify for SSI, applicants cannot exceed strict financial limits put in place by the SSA. Read more about these financial limits on the following page.
In cases where applicants qualify for SSDI but still fall within the income requirements for SSI, individuals can qualify for both types of benefits.
Blue Book Listings and Medical Eligibility Criteria
In addition to the SSDI and SSI technical eligibility requirements, the SSA also has stringent medical eligibility requirements. These requirements are published in the SSA’s official manual of disabling conditions known as the blue book. The blue book contains medical requirements for all potentially disabling conditions.
Diabetes is covered in section 9.00 of the blue book. Under the heading Diabetes Mellitus the SSA states that to qualify for disability benefits with diabetes, applicants must experience health complications related to one of the following:
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) – a potentially life-threatening side effect of diabetes that causes the body to become hyperglycemic and acidic; or
- Chronic Hyperglycemia- chronically high levels of blood glucose; or
- Hypoglycemia- an abnormally low level of blood glucose.