Which Is Better – SSI or Disability?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

If you are unable to work due to a disability and are struggling financially as a result, you may seek assistance through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) by filing a claim for disability benefits. Disability benefits come in two forms: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) (sometimes known as SSD or simply “disability”).

Neither is universally superior to the other. One may be a better option than the other depending on an individual’s specific circumstances.

What Are the Pros of SSDI?

SSDI disability benefits are available to those who have worked and paid into Social Security taxes. Thus, if you have worked in the past, odds are you may qualify for SSDI. That said, you need to show that you meet an SSA Blue Book listing. The Blue Book is the SSA’s resource which explains what types of disabilities/impairments qualify someone for disability benefits.

Additionally, the SSA does not prevent someone from qualifying for SSDI simply because their assets exceed a certain limit. This is among the main benefits SSDI offers that SSI doesn’t.

You could even potentially qualify for SSDI while still technically being able to work. You simply need to demonstrate that you are unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) per the SSA’s earning limits. In 2023, that means you can’t earn more than $1,470 per month (or $2,460 per month if you are statutorily blind).

Monthly SSDI payments are also typically higher than monthly SSI payments. And approval rates for SSDI claims tend to be higher as well.

What Are the Pros of SSI?

The main advantage that SSI benefits offer over SSDI benefits is that a person does not need to have worked or have a certain amount of work credits to qualify for SSI. They merely just need to meet a Blue Book listing and demonstrate significant financial need.

If a person is single, they might qualify for SSI if they have less than $2,000 in assets. If they are married, they might qualify if they have less than $3,000 in assets.

Can I Collect Both SSI & SSDI?

Yes, it is possible for an individual to collect both SSDI and SSI benefits at the same time. However, whether they will is dependent on various eligibility criteria. Additionally, the amount they receive from each program may affect the other.

If a person qualifies for both programs, they will receive the higher of the two payments, but the total combined amount may not exceed the limits the SSA sets.

Get in Touch With a Disability Lawyer 

Hiring an attorney is often a wise decision when submitting a claim for any type of disability benefits. Because the approval rate for initial claims is approximately a mere 20%, it’s helpful to have guidance from an expert who can help you put together a strong claim demonstrating why you deserve to receive benefits.

A lawyer can also help you pursue the benefits for which you may be eligible if the SSA does deny your claim. For more information, complete the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.

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