- Both SSI and SSDI disability programs offer cash benefits for disabled individuals.
- Both programs are overseen and managed by the Social Security Administration
- Medical eligibility for disability is determined in the same manner for both programs
- The main difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the fact that SSDI is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
What Is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income is a program that is strictly need-based, according to income and assets, and is funded by general fund taxes (not from the Social Security trust fund). SSI is called a “means-tested program,” meaning it has nothing to do with work history, but strictly with financial need. To meet the SSI income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income.
Disabled people who are eligible under the income requirements for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid in the state they reside in. Most people who qualify for SSI will also qualify for food stamps, and the amount an eligible person will receive is dependent on where they live and the amount of regular, monthly income they have. SSI benefits will begin on the first of the month when you first submit your application.
What Is SSDI?
Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through payroll taxes. SSDI 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. SSDI candidates must be younger than 65 and have earned a certain number of “work credits.” After receiving SSDI for two years, a disabled person will become eligible for Medicare.
Under SSDI, a disabled person’s spouse and children dependents are eligible to receive partial dependent benefits, called auxiliary benefits. However, only adults over the age of 18 can receive the SSDI disability benefit.
There is a five-month waiting period for benefits, meaning that the SSA won’t pay you benefits for the first five months after you become disabled. The amount of the monthly benefit after the waiting period is over depends on your earnings record, much like the Social Security retirement benefit.
Approval rates for SSDI are higher on average than they are for SSI. There are a number of possible reasons for this. First, SSDI are more likely than SSI applicants to have a higher income and insurance coverage, which means they’re more likely to have seen a doctor for their medical problems. (It’s very difficult to win disability without seeing a doctor regularly.) Also, judges and claims examiners give more credibility to applicants who have a long work history, which most SSI applicants don’t have.
If in fact you or someone you care for are struggling has pain to the point where your/their ability to work has been compromised, contact Ellis & Associates at 1-800-Mr. Ellis for advice as to whether SSI or SSDI benefits may be an appropriate resource to pursue.