When Margie became disabled, she needed to find out what help was available and fast! But she started looking into government benefit programs, she became confused. Some of the names were confusing because they were so alike. For example, she wondered if SSDI and SSI were the same? It’s true the programs are similar, but there are significant differences.
What they have in common is:
- Both programs are administered by the Small Business Administration.
- Both programs provide a disability benefit to eligible applicants.
Although both are complex government programs, SSDI and SSI are not the same.
A Different Purpose in Mind
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) allows disabled workers to receive their Social Security benefits early.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for U.S. citizens who are disabled and have limited income and financial resources.
Eligibility Is Not the Same
It’s possible to receive SSDI and SSI at the same time. However, some people will qualify for one or the other:
Social Security Disability Insurance:
- An applicant must prove a disability or blindness.
- The disabled worker must have enough work credits based on how much he or she earned and how much was earned in the 10 years prior to the onset of disability.
- SSDI monthly payments are calculated based on the worker’s Social Security earnings. Deductions may be made for other benefit payments, like workers’ compensation.
- Financial need generally is not a deciding factor. The work credits earned are more important.
Supplemental Security Income:
- Applicants must be disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration.
- The applicant must have income that fall below the SSA’s requirements. Please note, though, that not all of the applicant’s income is considered. For example, other benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and home energy aid are not included when calculating income. There are other exceptions, too numerous to include in this blog.
- Applicants must also have limited resources. When totaling the value of resources, the SSA looks at things that you own – cash, real estate, stocks, and so on. However, there are exceptions. For example, the home you live in generally is not a resource.
Ask a Disability Lawyer
Social Security Administration rules regarding disability are often hard to understand. You need someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.