Differences Between SSDI and SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two disability benefits programs managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The programs have different requirements for claimants and pay different monthly cash benefits.

While it is possible in some situations to qualify for benefits under both programs, most claimants qualify for either SSDI or SSI.

Do you need help obtaining SSDI or SSI benefits? You should not hesitate to contact the Paul Baker Law Office. Our firm serves clients in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and surrounding states.

Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

What Is SSI?

SSI is a means-tested program and benefits are entirely need-based. SSI benefits are funded by general taxes instead of the Social Security trust fund. A person’s work history has no effect on eligibility for SSI benefits, but a claimant must have an extremely limited income and minimal assets such as housing

The SSA does not count the first $20 a month of most income you receive, the first $65 a month you earn from working and half the amount over $65, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (“food stamps”), or shelter you get from private nonprofit organizations as income. The SSA also will not count wages a person uses to pay for items or services that help them work if they are disabled or work expenses if they are blind.

SSI benefits can be reduced when a beneficiary has other income. SSI benefits are available to people who are 65 years of age or older, blind, or disabled. Disabled or blind children of parents with minimal income or resources could also be eligible for SSI benefits as well.

What Is SSDI?

SSDI is a disability insurance program that is funded through payroll taxes. Applicants must be younger than 65 years of age. They also need to have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.

When a person becomes disabled, they will need to have worked for a certain number of years prior to their disability to receive SSDI benefits. An adult child could also qualify for benefits on their parent’s earnings record if they have a disability that started before 22 years of age. A spouse may qualify for SSDI benefits based on the other spouse’s work history in some cases.

SSI and SSDI Compared

Means testing and work history are among the biggest differences between SSI and SSDI.

SSI is means-tested, which means you can’t have too much money, things, or income to qualify. SSDI is not means-tested. It doesn’t matter how much money and property you have when you apply for SSDI.

SSI does not look at your work history. You could qualify for SSI even if you have never worked. SSDI requires a claimant to have “paid in” to the system by working a certain amount of time.

SSDI benefits are often higher on average than the SSI benefits. SSDI benefits may be higher than national averages depending on a beneficiary’s work history and earning record.

How Can Paul Baker Law Office Help Me?

If you are seeking SSDI or SSI benefits, our firm can help you determine which program you qualify for, help you with your application, and help you appeal a denial.

The Paul Baker Law Office has been helping people pursue the disability benefits they deserve since 1984. We will discuss your rights as soon as you call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

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