Disability Income: The Differences Between SSI and SSDI
Most people don’t realize there are differences between Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but they are two completely different programs. While both are managed by the Social Security Administration, and both provide cash benefits for the disabled, the eligibility requirements for each program are different.
SSDI is funded through payroll contributions from covered workers and their employers. To qualify for payment for a medical condition, the worker must have accumulated enough work credits, which means you must have worked enough during previous years to qualify for SSI to be eligible for SSDI. It is possible to qualify for SSI and also collect SSDI if you have a low income.
SSI disability benefits are available to those who never worked, or who never worked enough in previous years to earn work credits, and it is based strictly on financial need.
The differences can be confusing, but the eligibility process is even more so. About 35% of applicants are approved after an initial SSDI application. Each state has a Disability Determination Services office, which makes the disability determination. The state of Idaho pays beneficiaries around $350 million per year for SSDI benefits. Although an attorney is not required to file for SSDI, you may have a higher chance for approval if you are represented by a disability lawyer in Boise who is familiar with the disability process.
Here are some additional differences between SSI and SSDI.
SSI is funded by the U.S. Treasury, while SSDI is funded through a payroll tax contribution from workers and their employers. Self-employed persons pay both the employee and employer amounts for SSDI.
Assets and Qualification
In order to be eligible for SSI, you must prove financial need, own less than $2000 in assets, or for a couple, less than $3000, in addition to having a limited income. Your home and the land on which is located are not considered assets. Other assets not included are one vehicle and personal items such as wedding rings, to name a few.
SSDI eligibility is first determined through work credits. If you are eligible for SSI, have established enough work credits throughout your work history, and you are under the age of 65, then you have met the initial criteria. SSDI qualification takes into account your medical history and the ability to perform work duties. If approved, you are required to have been disabled for at least five full months before SSDI payments begin.
The process for claiming SSDI benefits can be a long one, and it is possible that you will be denied. However, there is an appeal process. If you did not initially consult a disability lawyer before filing the application, legal guidance through the appeals process could save frustration and time.