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Differences Between SSI and SSDI


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If you are disabled or aged, you may want to apply for Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration has two benefit programs that intended beneficiaries can apply for – the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

While many people believe that the two benefit programs are the same, there are distinct differences between the two. It is essential for people applying for benefits to understand the differences between SSI and SSDI. Knowing the difference will help you apply for the one that best suits your situation.

What is Social Security Income (SSI)

Social Security Income as an assistance program was set up to provide financial support to children, disabled, or aged adults in need. Individuals must have an income of less than $2,000 to qualify for this type of assistance. However, for couples, the maximum income requirement is below $3,000.

The body in charge of administering SSI is the Social Security Administration. The benefits from SSI are paid to recipients every month. The recipient’s work history is not considered a parameter for determining if they qualify for the help.

Eligibility Requirement for SSI

Intending beneficiaries should meet the following requirements to qualify for SSI benefits:

  • Be a child, disabled adult, or 65 years and above
  • Be a legal US citizen
  • Have a limited income level
  • Be a US resident

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is another assistance program that the Social Security Administration office handles. However, these benefit programs consider the social security credits that disabled persons have accumulated within their time of actively working. The disability in question must be total and will last for a minimum of 12 months from all indications.

Eligibility Requirements for SSDI

The requirements needed to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance include:

  • Inability to adjust to normal work conditions as a result of an existing medical condition
  • The duration of the said disability is up to at least 12 months
  • A disability prevents the individual from using a body function.
  • The beneficiary needs to be younger than the estimated retirement age.

Social Security Income Versus Social Security Disability Insurance

It is possible to think that SSI and SSDI are the same things. However, though these two assistance programs may have a lot of similarities, they are not the same. One area of difference between SSI and SSDI is in the area of eligibility determination.

The major yardsticks for determining who qualifies for SSI are age, limited income, and disability. On the other hand, in determining eligibility for SSDI, disability and the number of work credits a person has accumulated while actively working are considered.

Secondly, an SSI beneficiary automatically becomes eligible for Medicaid upon receiving Social Security Income. However, an SSDI beneficiary only qualifies for Medicaid after a waiting period of 24 months. Additionally, the average monthly benefit for SSI is $577, while that of SSDI is $1,128.

Bottom Line

Being disabled can be challenging. However, applying for SSI or SSDI can cushion the effect on your income. Not all SSI and SSDI applications gain approval. Therefore, to ensure that your application is approved, it is ideal to employ the services of an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

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