Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are benefits programs from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are crucial differences between the two, though. The main difference between SSDI and SSI is that:
- SSDI helps disabled individuals who have earned work credits.
- SSI is available to low-income individuals who do not have enough work credits.
Most of the time, someone on SSI will automatically qualify for Medicaid. Someone on SSDI can be eligible for Medicare after 24 months of benefits.
SSI and SSDI are two separate programs. However, some people will qualify for benefits from both. Plus, the SSA manages and provides both types of benefits.
Let’s look more closely at the distinctions between SSDI and SSI.
What Is SSDI?
Social Security (FICA) taxes pay for SSDI. When you work at a job covered by Social Security, you pay a portion of taxes from your paycheck.
Your employer deducts the amount for taxes automatically. If you are self-employed, you will pay these taxes from your income.
If you become disabled before the age of 65, you might qualify for SSDI. You will need to:
- Have earned enough work credits through Social Security taxes
- Have a disabling medical condition
- Be unable to work for at least a year
Most adults need at least 40 work credits (with 20 of those credits earned in the last 10 years before becoming disabled). Younger workers will need fewer credits. Your FICA tax contributions “insure” you for SSDI benefits.
Each year, a certain amount of wages equals one work credit. In 2020, one work credit was $1,410 in wages or self-employed income. You can earn up to four work credits per year.
Besides paying into Social Security enough, you must also have a total disability. The SSA will determine if you meet its definition of disability. Your condition must be severe enough that the SSA agrees it is disabling.
SSDI has a five-month waiting period. After you become disabled, you cannot receive benefits for the first five months. You can start getting benefits on the sixth full month after your disability begins.
The number of benefits you receive will depend on your average lifetime earnings. Someone might also qualify through a spouse’s or parent’s work history. The severity of your condition does not determine how many benefits you receive.
After 24 months on SSDI, you can become eligible for Medicare There are four parts to Medicare coverage:
Part A: hospital insurance
Part B: supplementary medical insurance
Part C: Medicare Advantage
Part D: prescription drug benefits
Many people struggle to get the SSDI benefits they deserve. Denials are common even for those who qualify. Many times, a claim is not strong enough or has missing information.
If you need help with your SSDI claim, contact a Social Security Disability lawyer. Your attorney can give you the best chance at approval. To get a FREE consultation with John Foy & Associates, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
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What Is SSI?
Unlike SSDI, SSI has nothing to do with work history. SSI approval depends on an individual’s needs. Those on a limited income may qualify for SSI.
General fund taxes support SSI. This program is strictly about financial needs. To qualify for SSI, you must have:
- A very limited income
- Less than $2,000 in assets (or less than $3,000 as a married couple)
Disabled, blind, and aged individuals can apply for SSI. Disabled SSI applicants must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, meaning a total disability. However, there is no work history requirement.
SSI provides monthly benefits for those who qualify. Disabled SSI applicants are also automatically eligible for Medicaid in their state. Most will also qualify for food stamps. A slightly higher number of women apply for SSI versus men.
You will receive SSI benefits on the first full month after you apply. There is no waiting period like with SSDI benefits.
Approval for SSI vs. SSDI
If you are disabled and applying for SSI or SSDI, you will need to prove your condition. That means you’ll need to confirm your disabling condition through medical records.
Approval rates tend to be higher for SSDI than for SSI. That’s probably because SSDI applicants tend to have more income and insurance. They are more likely to see a doctor for their condition. SSDI applicants also have a work history, which SSI applicants often don’t have.
Can You Receive Both SSI and SSDI Benefits?
Yes, some people will qualify for both SSI and SSDI. You can apply for both with the SSA. If you have a work history and limited income and resources, you could be eligible for both benefits.
Since SSI does not have a waiting period like SSDI, SSI can assist while you wait for SSDI. Those who do not qualify for SSDI can often turn to SSI for help.
What if Your SSI or SSDI Application Was Denied?
Unfortunately, this is all too common. If the SSA denied your claim, but you believe you qualify, contact a Social Security Disability lawyer. Your lawyer can:
- Determine why you receive a denial
- Make the correct changes to improve your application
- Help you file an appeal
Denials often happen because you need to provide more information. Sometimes, clerical errors can lead to false denials. Either way, your lawyer will investigate and assist you.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping SSI and SSDI applicants for over 20 years. We can help you with your application process. If the SSA has denied your benefits, we can assist you in appealing.
Our lawyers do not charge you a fee unless we win for you. There is no need to worry about upfront fees or costs. Plus, the consultation is 100% FREE.
To schedule your FREE consultation, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.