What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

Memphis Bankruptcy, Social Security Disability & Long Term Disability Attorney

You shouldn’t worry about where your money will come from if you are unable to work. If you have been faced with a disability that has left you out of work and want to apply for social security benefits, you may be lost and wondering what options you have. SSI and SSDI may provide you with the answers you’re looking for.

SSI and SSDI require various qualifications and benefits to those who have been faced with a disability. They typically suit individuals in different situations depending on factors such as your age, work history, and eligibility. If you are looking at one of these options, you may be wondering what the differences between them are and how to find the best fit.

You don’t have to do it alone. John Dunlap has been helping those who are disabled qualify for disability benefits for over 15 years. Having an attorney on your side may get you the help that you need. Call today for a free 20 minute session.

What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that offers Social Security Disability payments to individuals who are under the age of 65 and have a proven disability and work credits. SSDI offers monthly payments to individuals who qualify.

Those who qualify for SSDI are seen as insured because they have worked for a number of years and have paid their FICA taxes. If you become disabiled and are unable to work, the money and work credits you have earned will be given back to you to help cover your finances after you become disabled.

Do I qualify for SSDI?

There are a variety of qualifications that have to be met in order to be approved for SSDI. Those who qualify for SSDI are typically people who have worked for a number of years, making contributions to Social Security and are now considered “insured” and funded through payroll taxes. 

SSDI is also based off of your work history. In addition to being under the age of 65, your SSDI eligibility requirements will include the number of work credits you have earned over the years. Each year that you earn wages and pay your FICA taxes, you are earning a number of work credits. Typically, you may earn up to four work credits per year that you are employed.

Additionally, you must meet the medical eligibility definition that is set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI is designed to benefit those with a severe, long-term, or total disability. If your disability affects your ability to perform basic work activities, you may qualify for SSDI.

There are a variety of tests that you may have to take to determine if you qualify for SSDI or not. This may include things like: 

  • Means test
  • Severity test
  • Work test
  • Medical records

These different tests are what the Social Security Administration uses to check and see if you qualify for disability insurance. Depending on the disability, there may be other rules that also apply, which you can find through the SSA website. 

However, figuring out what you do and don’t qualify for on your own can be overwhelming. If you have suffered a disability that has left you out of work and unable to make money, an attorney may be able to help you with your SSDI paperwork and filings.

SSDI Benefits

The idea of being left out of work and wondering where your next paycheck will come from can be scary. Luckily, if you qualify for SSDI there may be a solution to cover your expenses while you’re out of work. SSDI may offer monthly payments to you and some of your family members. 

If you have worked long enough to pay your Social Security taxes, SSDI will insure you and some of your family members if you are not able to work. Social security disability benefits may include your: 

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Children
  • Disabled children

Additionally, each family member that is covered under your SSDI may receive up to 50% of your SSDI benefit amount. How much benefits family members receive is based on various factors and consideration by the Social Security Administration. 

What is SSI?

Social Security Insurance (SSI) is different than SSDI because it is a means-based income. Unlike SSDI, SSI is not based off of disabilities but rather your needs according to your income and assets. Rather than being funded by Social Security trust fund, SSI is funded through general fund taxes.

Those who qualify for SSI must have less than $2,000 in assets and have a low income. SSI may provide a monthly benefit check to those who are blind or disabled and are unable to work and haven’t worked enough to qualify for SSDI with work credits. SSI provides money for basic needs for living such as food, clothes, and other necessities.

Do I qualify for SSI?

In order to qualify for SSI you may have to meet a few requirements. SSI is designed to help those who are blind or disabled or have very little to no income. In order to qualify for the SSI program you may be required to take a means test that will determine your needs. 

SSI Benefits

After you qualify for SSI, you may start receiving SSI benefits. In 2020, the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) is $783 a month for individuals and $1,175 for couples. These are the maximum monthly amounts that you may receive in 2020. 

On top of receiving monthly cash benefits, you may also qualify for other benefits covered in SSI such as food stamps, medical benefits like Medicaid, and back pay. Additionally, you may receive what is considered a “benefit verification letter” that can be used when you need to show proof of income. 

Applying for SSDI or SSI benefits without representation can be a difficult process. Roughly only 30% of disability claims are accepted and nearly 70% are denied. An attorney may be able to help you get the benefits that you deserve. 

Attorney John Dunlap has worked with many SSDI and SSI cases. Call today for a free 20 minute session to see how he may be able to help your case.