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Why Do I Need Social Security Insurance?

Gordon, Wolf & Carney April 3, 2020

Social Security is a government run insurance program for people who pay into the Social security system through taxes paid in part by their employer and in part through deductions from their pay.  Not everyone pays into the Social Security program such as employees of the federal government, many teachers, and some people who are self-employed.  Americans are often confused about the different types of Social Security benefits.  Most people know that participants can be eligible for retirement benefits starting at age 62. But Social Security is not only a retirement program.  What happens if you are injured and can’t work prior to retirement age (in SSA terms, maintain “substantial gainful activity”), or you work in a job that doesn’t participate in the Social Security program?  For those who participate in the Social Security program and have earned enough “work credits” accrued over the ten years prior to application, you may be entitled to benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  For those who do not have enough work credits (e.g., do not participate in the Social Security program or haven’t received sufficient income to earn credits), there is an alternative program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  In addition to being disabled, an applicant for SSI is also limited in the amount of household income or assets.  This “means testing” can make it even more difficult to prove eligibility in some instances.

Under either SSDI or SSI, the process to qualify requires extensive medical proof (i.e., more than just a diagnosis) of a disabling condition.  Denials of claims by the Social Security Administration through this process are common.  Even if you have been diagnosed with a serious physical or mental health condition, you will only be found disabled if you can demonstrate that your condition significantly impairs your ability to work based on medical evidence.  Demonstrating such impairments through evidence is precisely the kind of action lawyers are trained to do. 

Anyone who needs to file a disability application with Social Security (SSDI or SSI) should contact the Maryland social security disability attorneys at Gordon Wolf & Carney for an evaluation and assistance with your claim.