Whether it’s SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability benefits or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits, both offer cash benefits for disabled individuals. But although they seem pretty similar, they’re actually quite different.
SSDI benefits are only for workers who have a certain number of work credits. On the other hand, SSI disability benefits can be availed by people who have low incomes and haven’t worked enough to gather credits for the SSDI program.
Most people can’t differentiate between SSI disability benefits and SSDI benefits, although they are two entirely different programs, which are offered by the Social Security Administration. But the perceived confusion between the two can be understandable since medical eligibility for both programs is determined in the same manner.
SSI Disability Benefits
This program is solely need-based and is funded by the general tax fund, rather than the Social Security trust fund. SSI disability benefits are provided to an individual according to their assets and income, which means that it has nothing to do with an individual’s working history.
An SSI program is only concerned with a person’s financial requirements, which is why it is called a “means-tested” program. According to SSI requirements, a person must have assets that are worth less than $2,000, while couples need to have less than $3,000. The whole idea is to have a very limited income.
People, who are eligible for the SSI program, are also entitled to receive Medicaid in the state they are living in. On average, most of the people who qualify for the SSI program can also get food stamps. However, the amount they receive depends largely on where that person lives and their monthly income. The Social Security Administration starts allotting benefits on the first date of the month when an individual submits their application.
Since a person seeking disability is out of work, it’s understandable if they assume that they won’t be able to afford an attorney. But a quality attorney like Kahn & Associates only takes cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid when you get your benefits.
Most of the people who get SSI are females because, on average, females are less likely to qualify for SSDI benefits (71% of females compared to 79% of males). Females usually have lesser qualifying years of work. 60% of males can say that they have worked for at least a part of the year throughout their adult life, while only 41% of females can make the same claim.
A social security disability insurance policy is funded through payroll taxes. Because SSDI applicants have worked a specific period of time, and have made significant contributions to the Social Security fund, they are deemed “insured”. SSDI applicants have to be younger than the age of 65 and also need to have a specific number of “work credits”. When a disabled person has received SSDI for two years, they become eligible for Medicare.
Because of SSDI, a disabled person’s dependents can also receive dependent benefits, called “auxiliary benefits”. But it is also necessary that the person receiving SSDI benefits is above the age of 18. The Social Security Administration doesn’t pay a disabled person benefits for the first five months they are disabled. This is due to their five-month waiting period. The benefits a person receives after their waiting period depends on their past earning record.
There is a higher chance for an individual to receive SSDI benefits rather than SSI benefits, and there are a few reasons possible for this. Firstly, applicants of SSDI are more likely to have higher income and insurance coverage compared to SSI applicants. This means they’re more likely to see a doctor for their disability. When a doctor has notified a patient that they have a disability, the patient then seeks disability benefits.
A Few Other Differences
SSI Beneficiaries Receive Medicaid, SSDI Beneficiaries Receive Medicare
Most SSI applicants qualify for Medicaid benefits instantly. That is because Medicaid is a program that provides comprehensive health benefits for its beneficiaries. Believe it or not, the Medicaid benefits associated with SSI is mainly the reason why people apply for SSI.
SSDI beneficiaries, on the other hand, can receive Medicare. Medicare is a health insurance program. It covers regular hospital services and most, but not all, of primary medical care. Medicare is not as detailed and beneficial as Medicaid. To fill in the gaps that are not covered by the Medicare policy, many applicants purchase “Medigap” policies.
Different Financial Benefits
SSI benefits and SSDI are very different in terms of the money these two policies provide. In 2020, the SSI payment standard is $783 per month for a single person (most states add supplemental payments). On the other hand, the average SSDI payment for a single person is $1,258 per month. Because SSDI is based on an applicant’s past earning record, some beneficiaries can get a lot more than this.
Also, SSI benefits are lessened by any other income that is received by the SSI beneficiary; hence many SSI applicants receive less than a $783 standard payment. Mostly, if someone receives SSDI benefits that are higher than the maximum SSI monthly payment, that person won’t be eligible for SSI. The Social Security Administration is keen on not making people wait for their disability benefits, but processing times can vary between 3-5 months.
But always remember to hire an attorney that can provide confidential consultation. 75% of the cases that are filed without an attorney are denied.
To learn more about your rights under the Social Security Disability laws call our FREE Disability Hotline at 1-866-4-MY-SSDI (469-7734) to speak with one of our friendly disability rights advocates who, once they obtain all the required information, will evaluate your claim in 60 seconds or less or fill out our FREE Disability Case Assessment form and one of our representatives will contact you immediately.