The Social Security Administration operates two disability benefits programs. Having the initials of these plans only a letter apart virtually guarantees confusion among those who may not be aware that they are two different disability programs. Yet that one letter is extremely important since there is actually a big difference between the two disability benefit packages. When you apply for disability, you have to be aware of the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income(SSI).
What is SSDI?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): It allows workers who become disabled to receive their Social Security retirement benefits early. In order for you to apply for SSDI, you need to have enough work credits based on taxable employment to be covered for Social Security purposes.
Since SSDI is based on FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes you paid throughout your working career, it entirely disregards how much money you have or do not have.
If you became disabled before you reach the age of 24, you need to have at least 6 work credits to qualify for SSDI and 12 credits if your age is between 24 and 31. If you are over 31, you need to have earned 20 work credits in the past 10 years before you became disabled to be eligible for SSDI.
To file for SSDI disability benefits, you must either be a blind or disabled worker, an adult who has been disabled since childhood, or otherwise eligible to apply according to SSA's rules. The amount of your monthly disability benefits will be based on your Social Security income record.
What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): benefits are awarded on the basis of financial need to adults and children who are disabled, blind, or have limited income and resources. When you file an SSI disability claims, make sure you can show the case reviewer that you have very few financial resources or assets and a low income.
Eligibility Requirements for SSDI and SSI
The SSI disability program has different eligibility requirements than Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). To be entitled to SSI benefits, you must be a U.S. citizen who meets the requirements set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
to qualify for SSI benefits you need to present medical evidence that your disability will last for at least one year. Your total countable income should also be below listed Supplemental Security Income levels. The SSI amount differs from state to state.
In both SSDI and SSI cases, a claimant's medical records will be checked periodically to be sure the individual is still disabled.
The Social Security Administration will review your condition every 3 to 7 years, depending on your disability’s nature. Once you’re awarded SSI disability benefits, your financial records will be reviewed every year.
Other Facts You Should Know
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you should be screened for both SSDI disability and SSI. If you are awarded SSDI benefits of an amount less than a thousand dollars per month, it would be wise to consult with a representative to check if you may qualify for SSI as well.
When you make a disability claim for SSI, you may also be required by the Social Security Administration to provide financial records which include bank statements, mortgage and lease agreements, savings and other financial data that will let them assess your financial status.
You can seek the help of a Social Security Disability lawyer or advocate to help make the application process for Social Security Disability benefits or appealing a decision much more manageable.
If you have a question regarding your SSI or SSDI case, you can ask in our forum here.