What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
If you are disabled and struggling to cover your expenses, you may wish to consider applying for benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA offers two different programs that pay disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program has different requirements for receipt of benefits and serves a unique purpose. Our Manhattan NYC Supplemental Security Income lawyers at Seelig Law Offices, LLC, explore the differences between SSDI and SSI benefits and which you should seek.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI and SSI are two completely different programs. As such, it is critical that you understand the difference between the two programs so that you can select which one is right for you. The SSDI program is designed for workers who become disabled before they reach retirement age. To apply for SSDI benefits, you must have worked over a certain number of years in a job where you paid Social Security taxes. You must acquire a certain number of work credits to apply for SSDI benefits.
If you have the correct number of work credits, you must also be disabled, according to the SSA’s definition of a disability. SSDI benefits are only available to individuals with long term and severe disabilities. To qualify, the disability must interfere with your work related activities and it must be long term, meaning that it is expected to last at least one year. The disability must prevent you from performing a substantial gainful activity, which is defined as making less than an amount set annually.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
In contrast to SSDI, SSI is strictly need based. Applicants do not need to have worked and paid into the Social Security trust fund. Instead, applicants must meet a means test that has nothing to do with work history and solely looks at your income and assets. To be eligible for SSI, you must be over the age of 65, blind, or disabled. You must also have a limited income and limited resources.
Disabled for the purposes of SSI benefits is defined as marked and severe functional limitations that can be expected to result in death or last for at least 12 months. Your SSDI/SSI attorney will review your income and work history to determine whether you would be better suited to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits.