Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a government program managed by the Social Security Administration to assist disabled people. The same is true for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (“SSDI”). However, though the names are confusing, it’s important to know the difference between SSI and SSDI.
One big difference between the two programs is how people qualify for them.
SSI is “needs-based.” Qualifying for SSI is all about your income and assets, not your work history:
- Individuals must have less than $2,000 in assets and limited income
- Couples must have less than $3,000 in assets, also with limited income.
So, applicants for SSI qualify based on financial need. By the way, the applicant’s home is typically not considered an asset when calculating their assets.
A person’s eligibility for SSDI, however, is based on “work credits.” The SSA converts your earnings into work credits up to a maximum of four work credits per year. To qualify for disability benefits, you must have a certain level of work credits. As you age, you need more work credits to qualify for benefits.
Your account usually goes through two additional tests:
- Recent Work Test. The number of credits you need is based on how recently you worked. For example, if you are 31 or older, you will need 20 credits earned in the 10 years before you became disabled. The recent work requirement is lower for younger applicants.
- Duration of Work Test. This test is also based on age. For example, someone 21 through 24 needs 6 works credits and 1.5 years of work. A 62 year old applicant needs 40 credits and 10 years of work.
Benefits Available and Additional Benefits
Both programs provide benefits in the form of monthly payments. However, SSDI recipients are also automatically covered by Medicare after two years of coverage. SSI beneficiaries who are disabled automatically qualify for Medicaid.
Another difference – when benefits start.
SSI benefits can begin on the first day of the month in which you submit your application, if you qualify. However, there is a five month waiting period before an applicant can receive SSDI payments.
It’s Complicated. We Can Help with Social Security Disability Benefits.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients with Social Security Disability Insurance cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.