Differences Between SSI and SSDI
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5 Key Differences Between SSI and SSDI

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5 Key Differences Between SSI and SSDI

A significant percentage of Americans rely entirely on SSD welfare. You might want to benefit from Social Security Disability (SSD). But, you may not know which category suits your situation. You might also be at a point where you’re disabled, want to retire, and are looking for ways to depend on social security benefits alone.

Based on the social security fact sheet, more than 66 million Americans receive social security retirement benefits every month.

It helps to know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two disability benefits programs. They include:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI)
  • Supplemental Security Income(SSI)

They are two varied disability programs. But, the one letter ‘D’ that distinguishes the difference between SSDI and SSI is crucial. This is because there’s a significant distinction between the two social security benefits.

Usually, SSDI needs some extent of work credits, while SSI operates on limited income needs and resources. When you apply for the benefits, you must know the difference between the two. Before we look at these differences, let’s learn how you can maneuver through the tricky social security disability application process.

How to Get Through the Application for the Social Security Benefits?

Requesting social security disability benefits, either SSDI or SSI, or both can be difficult. When applying for any SSD benefit, you must be screened for SSDI and SSI disabilities.

Sometimes, you may believe you’re eligible, but the SSA declines your request for reasons that may not be clear to you.

Let’s say you get SSDI benefits of an amount indicating anything less than what you deserve per month, or your request for either SSDI or SSI is denied altogether.

In such a case, it is wise to consult expert disability lawyers to represent you in claiming the benefits you deserve. Social security disability lawyers will often make the process more manageable for you.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re sending your application newly or you want to appeal for a previously rejected SSD benefits request. The lawyers for disability claims will go the extra mile to act on your behalf.

SSD attorneys boost your chances of getting disability benefits by working efficiently and favorably to document complex paperwork. They ensure they present every appropriate evidence and prioritize the deadlines.

So, working with a disability attorney will likely help formulate a factual claim with the Social Security Administration. If your claim was initially denied, the SSA offers you the reason for denial. From here, your social security disability lawyers can quickly work to help you through the claim process.

What’s the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

1. How the Loan Works

The significant difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is that SSDI operates on work credits, while SSI operates on limited income and resources.

To request Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you should be:

  • A blind or disabled employee
  • An adult who’s been disabled since childhood
  • Eligible to apply based on SSA’s rules.

2. Qualification

You don’t have to work, or you can have a minimal work history and still benefit from SSI. So, to file for an SSI disability claim, ensure that the case reviewer considers you to have very few financial assets or resources and a low income.

To qualify for SSDI, you should have an impairment that is severe enough. It should be a disability that stops you from working full-time for at least one year.

To be eligible for SSI, you don’t need to have work credits.

Thus, SSDI benefits workers who could, at some point, work entirely but can no longer do so because of a disability caused by a severe ailment or injury. In short, you must meet SSA’s stringent disability definition.

3. Age Requirement

SSDI often favors people that have worked full-time for several years. Younger individuals, perhaps those below 31 years, might find it hard to qualify for SSDI benefits. This is because they haven’t earned enough work credits to attain the qualifications.

If you become disabled before attaining 24 years, you should have a minimum of 6 work credits to be considered for SSDI. If you are between 24-31 years, you need at least 12 credits to qualify.

For those over 31 years, you should have earned at least 20 work credits. This should be within the past 10 years before the disability to qualify for SSDI. Your monthly disability benefits amount will depend on your social security income records.

When it comes to SSI, there’s no age limit. You can qualify for the benefits at 60 years or as a child. You only need to meet the requirements stated by the SSA.

4.  Income and Resources

Another common difference between SSDI and SSI is income and resources. With SSI, there are often income and resource restrictions. But, regarding SSDI, there are no income or resource restrictions. SSI’s income limitations are because it is a needs-based program.

So, SSI is for people with severe disabilities and with very restrained income and resources. Thus, you’ll also have to send your income records when applying for SSI. Usually, the SSA will want to establish whether you meet the financial requirements stated for SSI.

5. Social Security Benefits and Medicare

In different states, the people on SSI will automatically qualify for Medicare. On the other hand, a person on SSDI will automatically qualify for Medicare after two years of getting SSDI benefits.

Why Can You Be Denied SSDI or SSI Benefits?

As stated earlier, SSDI is a program that benefits workers who have been paying into the social security system for many years.

One of the primary reasons you could not access these benefits is when you apply, yet you’re working above the limit. This is known as SGA–Substantial Gainful Activity.

It means you get too much income to be considered as not capable due to disability. So, to avoid such denial, you should only work to some extent when applying for SSDI. The payment should not be above the SGA limit. By 2022, the amount was $1,350 per month (for nonblind people).

The figure is usually adjusted yearly. Besides, the income from investments doesn’t count towards the SGA. Only work income counts, which shows the extent of your ability to work.

When you apply for SSI, a disability benefit for low-income people, you shouldn’t earn anything above the SGA level. But, after the approval, you can make more than that.

But, there’s a limit (around $1600 per month) on every earned and unearned income for SSI. This works when applying for benefits and when you collect the benefits.

Besides, any time your income exceeds $85 per month, your SSI benefits will start reducing via a complicated formula. If you go ahead to get more than $1,650, your SSI earnings may decrease to a minimum. This implies that you may no longer qualify for the benefits.

What Are the Eligibility Criteria for SSDI and SSI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) presents different eligibility requirements from the SSI disability program. To receive either benefit, you should be a U.S. citizen. You must also meet the conditions set by the SSA for either SSDI or SSI.

The fact is that most individuals who receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are U.S. citizens. But, each program has provisions under which particular non-citizens may qualify for disability benefits.

Again, to qualify for SSI welfare, you must present medical evidence that your disability will last for a minimum of 12 months. The sum of your countable income must also be below the stated supplemental security income levels.

Besides, the SSI amount varies from one state to another. For both SSDI and SSI cases, your medical records as the claimant will be evaluated periodically. This is done to guarantee that you’re still impaired.

It also helps to know that your benefits may be limited to seven years due to your particular non-citizen status. In this case, you’ll often receive a letter telling you when your 7-year period ends. You’ll also get another letter that explains your right to appeal before your payments stop.

Overall, the SSA will review your condition occasionally, based on your disability’s nature. Once you get the disability benefits, your financial records are reviewed occasionally. This is done based on the conditions set for either SSDI or SSI.

Key Takeaways

The SSI’s evaluation is based on disability and limited income and assets. Conversely, SSDI depends on disability and job credits.

Besides financial policies being the critical difference, another significant difference is where you can qualify for SSDI once you have vast work experience. However, anyone, including a child with no work experience, can be eligible for SSI.

A recipient of SSI should, in most cases, apply for Medicaid automatically. But for SSDI, after 2 years of obtaining disability benefits, a person automatically qualifies for Medicare after 2 years of attaining disability benefits.

If you apply for either benefit and your claim is declined yet you believe you qualify, contact an expert social security disability lawyer. The SSD lawyer will help you file an appeal and make changes to enhance your application.

Amy Adams Author

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