An individual with a disability in Rhode Island may be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance of Supplementary Security Income. Both are funded by social security taxes and outlined by the federal government. However, it falls to the state of Rhode Island to determine who is and who isn't disabled.
There are some important differences between the two types of disability. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments are made to individuals with a disability who have paid in a certain amount in social security over their years as an employee. On the other hand, Supplementary Security Income (SSI) is available to both disabled adults and children who have very limited financial resources.
A disability is defined the same for both SSDI and SSI. In Rhode Island, that definition includes anyone who is unable to hold substantial employment because of a medically determined condition. This condition can be either mental or physical, but it has to be proven by a medical examination or test. An individual's statement, even a statement from a doctor, is not enough—the medical condition must be proven via symptoms, lab results, or other methods that generate hard, positive proof. The second requirement is that this condition must either last for a continuous twelve months or be terminal.
A child is listed as disabled if he or she has a physical or mental impairment (again, determined medically) or several impairments that, when combined, are expected to severely limit their ability to function in society. Again, the disability must last over a year or must be terminal.
To apply for disability in Rhode Island, you must visit the Social Security Office and pick up an application. Once that's done, the office will verify all of your non-medical information. If you meet all of the requirements, your disability request will be passed on to a disability determination service. This service will take into account all of your medical records and other information and make a decision based on them. Qualified physicians and disability experts will review your file, not social security employees.
If you aren't granted disability, you may appeal the decision. Simply go to the Social Security Office where you applied and file a written appeal within 60 days.