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Difference Between SSI and SSDI

Posted by Louis B. Lusk | Nov 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

Difference Between SSI and SSDI

While many people do not distinguish between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), they are two completely different government programs. Both programs are overseen and managed by the Social Security Administration and medical eligibility is determined in the same manner for both programs, there are distinct differences between them. Supplemental Security Income Supplemental Security Income is a program based on need, according to income and assets. Social Security Income pays benefits to low-income people who are 65 or older, to adults who are disabled or blind, and to children who are disabled and blind. It is funded by the general revenues that the Treasury Department collects to run the U.S. government. The receipt of Supplemental Security Income has nothing to do with work history, and is based solely on financial need. To meet the Supplemental Security Income requirements, the applicant must have less than $2,000 in assets, or $3,000 for a couple, with very limited income. The monthly payment is based on need and varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate. Some states will even add money to federal Supplemental Security Income payments. Disabled applicants that are eligible under the income requirements for Supplemental Security Income are also generally able to receive Medicaid in the state where they reside. Those eligible for Supplemental Security Income often qualify for food stamps. Social Security Disability Insurance Social Security Disability Insurance is an earned benefit that focuses on physical and mental impairments that are severe enough to prevent people from engaging in their normal occupations or any other possible work. There is a five month waiting period for benefits, where the Social Security Administration will not pay benefits for the first five months after the applicant becomes disabled. Social Security Disability Insurance applicants must be younger than 65 and have earned a certain number of “work credits.” The Social Security Administration determines if applicants have worked enough to qualify for benefits by converting the applicant's earnings into work credits. The dollar amount required to earn one work credit is calculated annually. For example, in 2011, an applicant must have earned $1,120 to earn one work credit, or $4,480 to get the maximum four credits for the year. Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through payroll taxes. Benefit recipients are considered insured because they have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes. The amount of the monthly benefit after the waiting period ends depends upon the applicant's earning record, similar to the calculation for Social Security retirement benefits. Once a disabled person receives Social Security Disability Insurance for two years, they become eligible for Medicare. The applicant's impairment must be expected to last at least twelve months, or to end in death. Social Security Disability Insurance may be paid to blind or disabled workers (and like Social Security retirement benefits, to their children, widows or widowers) and to adults who have not worked but have been disabled since childhood.

About the Author

Louis B. Lusk

About Louis B. Lusk – Disability Attorney Attorney Louis B. Lusk has helped thousands of disabled individuals recover Social Security disability and SSI disability benefits.  He is an active member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR), an organizat...


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If you have been turned down for Social Security disability call me at 1 (800) 407-1516. I look forward to hearing from you.