Questions About Social Security: Difference Between SSI and SSDI

Questions About Social Security: What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI

Countless filings for supplemental security income (SSI) and social security disability insurance (SSDI) are processed by the social security office every month. As such, consult with a professional if you are planning to apply for social security benefits. An experienced social security attorney can explain the set disability criteria, who qualifies, the actual application process, and the difference between SSI and SSDI.

Both SSI and SSDI benefits are under the Social Security Administration (SSA). In both, a claimant must first prove that they are disabled before they can receive certain benefits. There are differences in the requirements for eligibility and the benefits that an individual is entitled to receive. Basically, qualifying and applying for benefits through SSI or SSDI differ in the following ways:

1) There is a need-based qualification in SSI while SSDI is essentially a work-based entitlement.

There must be a financial need component when filing for disability claims under the SSI program. A financially needy and disabled person may not have a certain work record or payments made into the Social Security system but would still qualify for social security disability benefits.

Proving disability and meeting SSI financial need requirements are both necessary for one to receive disability payments. Note that the need-based income criteria can be quite difficult to meet. The total amount of an individual’s or a married couple’s cash and bank account balance must meet the cap before being eligible for SSI payments.

On the other hand, SSDI is essentially a work-based entitlement. Before filing for disability claims and being eligible for SSDI benefits, an individual must meet the SSDI disability criteria and must have paid into the Social Security system for at least ten years. A disabled person who does not meet the work history criteria cannot be entitled to receive disability payment through SSDI.

2) SSI disability benefits may necessitate a reorganization of assets.

Questions About Social SecuritySince SSI disability benefits are need-based, proven financial need is required when claiming disability payments. As such, a person who gains substantial assets, for any reason, may not anymore qualify for social security benefits after a certain period of time. To avoid the possibility of a denial or disqualification, some disabled people opt to reorganize their assets for them to meet SSI disability requirements.

3) A person’s income factors into the number of benefits received under the SSDI disability program.

Because SSDI benefits are based on payments made into the Social Security system, they are often more significant when compared to SSI benefits. An SSI disability benefit can be likened to a fixed monthly income. Meanwhile, SSDI benefits vary for each individual as they are based on one’s earnings record. As such, a high-income earner who has become disabled because of an accident will likely get more significant SSDI benefits when compared to a low-income individual.

4) SSDI beneficiaries automatically become eligible for Medicare.

Medicare coverage is automatic for people with disabilities who qualify for SSDI, which is applicable two years after they start receiving benefits. As it is less comprehensive when compared to Medicaid, some low-income disabled workers prefer a social security claim under SSI over a claim under SSDI. Instead of focusing on the benefit amount, they opt for the more comprehensive healthcare coverage in the former.

If you or any of your family members have a disability or recently became disabled, contact a trusted social security disability lawyer. We specialize in supplemental security income (SSI), social security disability insurance (SSDI), and other concerns related to your disability claim, retirement benefits, or social security benefits. Call our reliable disability lawyers today from Farmer & Wright PLLC.

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