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What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

Posted on by Ken LaVan
SSDI Payment Schedule

The difference between SSI and SSDI. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are both federal disability programs under the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Both programs provide cash payments for individuals who meet the definition of “disabled.”  However, there are distinct differences between them.

What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a financial need-based program that considers your income, assets and resources.  Supplemental Security Income, SSI is funded by general tax funds, not the Social Security trust fund.  It has a very strict set of financial requirements. To meet the SSI financial requirements, you must:

  • Own less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple),
  • Have a very limited income, and
  • Be a US citizen (there are very few exceptions to this).

Both disabled children and adults may qualify for SSI benefits.  You can file for SSI without  a work history.  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments have a maximum monthly rate.  The federal SSI payment standard for 2020 is $783 per month.  Most states will provide an additional small supplemental payment.  Dependent children or spouses do not receive payments under SSI.

What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to individuals who have worked a certain number of years and paid into the Social Security system.   Unlike SSI, there are no limitations for income or assets.  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) requirements are that:

  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 65 years old, and
  • You have earned a certain amount of “work credits.” 

To file for SSDI you do not have to be a US citizen.  Any worker with a valid social security number who paid into Social Security may file.  Under SSDI, a disabled individual’s spouse and dependent children are eligible to receive partial dependent benefits.  Spouses and dependent children are also called auxiliary benefits.  There is a waiting period of five months after being found disabled before payments will begin.  The amount of an individual’s benefits is determined by your earnings record.

Medical Coverage for SSI and SSDI

Individuals who receive payments under the SSI program receive Medicaid. Medicaid benefits start right away.  Individuals receiving SSDI will receive Medicare benefits.  However, these benefits will not begin right away.  Medicare benefits start two years after a person is found eligible for SSDI.  However, Medicare does not cover all primary medical care.  You may need to purchase an additional policy to supplement Medicare benefits.   

What do SSI and SSDI Have in Common?

SSA will ask five questions to determine your eligibility for both SSI and SSDI.

  • Are you working?
  • Is your condition “severe” (limiting your ability to work for at least 12 months)?
  • Does your condition meet or equal the medical listing (the condition is causing the most severe limitations and impact on your functioning)?
  • Can you do any of your past work (only work done in the past 15 years)?
  • If not, is there any other type of work you can do?

In addition, Social Security will ask you to complete forms.   These will ask you to describe your daily activities.  You will need to provide a description of your work history.  Social Security will also contact your doctors to review your medical records. 

Can you collect SSI and SSDI at the same time? 

You can file for both SSDI and SSI (“Concurrent Benefits”) if:

  • If you have earned enough credits for SSDI and
  • Meet the financial requirements for SSI.

Example of Concurrent Benefits

You have worked consistently in the past.  However, you had to stop working due to your medical conditions.  Now that you are no longer working, you may not have any income.  You may have to apply for state assistance or rely on others for financial help.  You would be able to file for SSDI because of your work history.  In addition, you would be able to file for SSI because you now have a limited income. 

In some cases, a person may collect SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time. 

Your SSDI benefit may low because of several factors, including:

  • earning lower wages throughout the course of your work  history
  • having very little or not at all in the last 10 years
  • becoming disabled at a young age

If your monthly payments from SSDI are below $783 per month, you can also receive an SSI payment up to that amount.  If you receive payments from both SSDI and SSI, you will also receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits. 

There are some cases where an individual may not qualify for either SSDI or SSI.

  • You did not earn enough credits for SSDI, 
  • You may have other income, assets or resources that are too high to file for SSI, or 
  • Your spouse’s income is too high.

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. If you have already applied for SSI or SSDI, call immediately to make sure your case is still pending and was filed correctly. You may be entitled to significant compensation.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

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