Disability Benefits: What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

Disability Benefits: What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

Most people know that if they become disabled and cannot work, there is some type of government program that can provide disability benefits to those who qualify. The terminology can be confusing though—SSI, SSDI—what exactly are they, what’s the difference, and who qualifies? Here’s an overview to get you started.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It pays monthly benefits if you become blind or disabled before reaching age 65 and can no longer work.

  • SSDI is funded by Social Security taxes (FICA)
  • You earn work credits based on how much you make in a year
  • The most credits you can earn per year is four
  • The total number of work credits you need to qualify is based on:
  1. The age at which you became disabled
  2. The number of years you’ve worked
  3. The number of credits you need based on your age

For example, a person 31 years of age or older must have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years and have earned 20 credits in the 10 years immediately before becoming disabled.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

People who are aged (over 65), blind, or disabled who don’t qualify for SSDI because they lack the necessary work credits may still be able to get disability payments. SSI has some strict income restrictions, however, because it is a needs-based program.

  • SSI limits how much you and your spouse can own in resources:
    • bank accounts
    • stocks
    • life insurance over $1,500
    • other property.

The limit for resources is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Some items don’t count, such as your home, one vehicle, and your personal effects, such as wedding rings.

  • SSI also limits how much you can have in income
    • the more countable income you have, the less your SSI benefit will be
    • if your income is more than the limit, you can’t receive SSI benefits

A Marietta, GA social security disability lawyer can advise you in more detail about these limits.

Medical Eligibility for SSDI and SSI

To receive disability benefits you must also have a medical condition that SSA defines as severe, long-term, and total.

  • Severe – The condition interferes with basic work-related activities
  • Long-term – The condition is expected to last one year or more
  • Total – You cannot engage in “substantial gainful activity” for at least a year.

Waiting Period for SSDI and SSI

Even if you qualify, there is a five-month waiting period after you become disabled before you can start receiving disability benefits. For this reason, you should not delay speaking with a social security disability attorney.

Denial of Disability Benefits

Most people who file a new claim for disability benefits are turned down at first. In Georgia, less than 30% of initial claims are approved. You can appeal this decision within 60 days but there are important steps that must be followed. That’s why it’s imperative that you speak with a social security disability attorney about your benefits claim. People who use a disability lawyer have a much greater likelihood of succeeding with their SSDI or SSI claim.

Social Security Disability Attorney

Call a social security disability lawyer in Marietta, GA today about your disability claim. The laws regarding social security disability are complicated and the deadlines are strict. Your best chance of success is with a Marietta, GA disability attorney on your side.