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Social Security Disability benefits are monthly payments that support individuals who cannot work a full-time job and have a disability. There are two different SSA programs that pay disability benefits. Those programs are  Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

​Although both programs use the same basic definition of “disability,” there are important differences between the programs. The benefits and qualifying requirements differ. The biggest difference is that SSI benefits require financial need. SSI benefits are for those with a disability, but who did not pay into the government system.

social security disability benefits


SSD benefits, on the other hand, is the program that pays monthly benefits to people who have a disability, work, and pay taxes.  Many people confuse these two programs. This is easy to do because you can receive payments from both programs at the same time.

For example, if you worked for 20 years, became disabled, but you worked at a low paying job, your monthly benefit amount under SSD may be low enough that you also qualify for SSI benefits. Your financial eligibility for SSI can depend on the state in which you live.

The main thing to understand about the programs is that when you apply for  benefits, you are filing for both types of benefit.  The SSA will determine if you are not financially eligible for SSI.  They will also determine, under their rules, if you are eligible and are disabled for SSD.  Eligibility for benefits begins when you apply for benefits.  If you do not apply, you cannot go back in time and receive past benefits.  Many people think that if they apply, even five years after they stop working, due to d the SSA will pay them for the entire time they have been off work.  This is simply not true.


Supplemental Security Income begins on the date of application if one is found disabled. However, under the SSD application, the most a person can receive in back due benefits are payments one year prior to their application date. You can only receive past due benefits if were not working one year prior to filing your application. You also have to qualify for SSI benefits during that past period of time. If you need to know more information about an increase in SSDI and SSI benefits, read here.

No matter what type of benefit you need, you can receive nothing unless you apply.  Therefore, if you can no longer work, the sooner you apply the better off you will be.

Contact Cannon Disability Law and let us help you today. You can find out more about your legal team on this website. Dianna Cannon has been practicing law for over 30 years. Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Andria Summers has over 20 years of experience helping claimants win disability benefits. Our attorneys know the law.  We have won over $100 million in ongoing and back due benefits for our clients. Contact us today to hire a disability attorney with experience.


There are many forms to complete when you first apply for benefits. We will make sure you complete the forms properly. Also, we can help you submit your application. Or, if you prefer you can file your own application online at Social Security’s website.

Additionally, if you can’t apply online, you can file an application by calling the SSA’s phone number, 1-800-772-1213. Or you can schedule an appointment at the local SSA office near you. Then, you can apply in person.

We recommend filing for benefits through your Social Security attorney. Your lawyer will make sure that your application is complete. Additionally, your lawyer can submit your medical records. Of course, you can also apply without legal assistance. Some people prefer to apply on their own. Then, if they receive a denial they hire an attorney.

While many people seeking benefits apply on their own, we do not think it is the best course of action. The SSA is looking for particular information to see if you can be paid benefits. Why not start with hiring a lawyer? The lawyer can submit your information for you. This may shorten the waiting time for a decision. However, even if you hire a lawyer to help submit your application, you may still receive a denial. Most people receive a denial after the initial application. If you do, then don’t give up. Make sure you file a timely appeal.

If your claim is approved, the SSA will send you an award letter. The award letter will explain you monthly benefit amount and state if there are any back benefits owed to you. Hiring an experienced lawyer to help with your case improves your odds of winning benefits.


If you need help filing for SSD and SSI benefits, reach out to Cannon Disability Law. Also, if you need help finding free medical care, use the list of free and low-cost medical resources on our website. Taking the first step, by calling us, is what you need to do to begin your journey to winning benefits. All you need to do is reach out to our legal team.

Our legal team wants to help you. We offer a free review of your case. What that means is that you can call us and explain your situation. At that point, we will look at the merits of your case for free and let you know if you have a chance to qualify for SSI benefits. We do not charge you for our review of your case.

There are many reasons to hire an SSD and SSI attorney. But the first reason is it pays to hire an attorney with experience. Our legal team has the experience you need to win your case.

In the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSD and SSI benefits for our clients. If you need our help, then call us. Or, contact us on this website. We are experts at what we do and we will put our legal knowledge to work for you. Hire us to be your Social Security legal team.

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