The primary difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is that SSDI is an earned benefit while SSI is intended for low-income individuals and people over 65. Qualifying for SSDI involves working and earning taxable wages to accumulate enough credits for receiving monthly benefits. Alternately, if you do not have enough credits to qualify for SSDI and have limited income, the Social Security Administration may approve you for SSI benefits. In addition, SSDI is a program supported by taxes while SSI is supported by the federal government.
How Can Someone Transition from SSI to SSDI?
People receiving SSI who unexpectedly became disabled in their 20s or 30s may not have worked enough years to qualify for SSDI. At first glance, it seems unlikely for someone on SSI to transition from SSI to SSDI. But under certain SSA guidelines, it may be possible.
SSI recipients who began receiving benefits before the age of 22 could transition to SSDI if one parent becomes disabled, passes away or retires. The SSA’s Disabled Adult Child Program permits qualified SSI recipients to transition to SSDI so they can receive half of a parent’s Social Security benefits or 75 percent of a parent’s benefits if that parent dies. If the new SSDI payments are more than the previous SSI payments, this will stop the recipient from receiving SSI payments altogether.
Medicaid eligibility is not affected by the transition from SSI to SSDI benefits as long as the SSDI recipient is single or married to someone who is also receiving Disabled Adult Child Program benefits. Moreover, after a beneficiary receives SSDI for two years, they also begin accessing Medicare benefits.
Transitioning from SSI to SSDI By Earning Credits
Depending on the severity of their disability, some SSI recipients are capable of working part-time. It is possible they could eventually accumulate enough work credits to transition from SSI to SSDI at some point. If you are an SSI beneficiary who works part-time, keep careful track of your hours worked and how many credits you have accumulated from paying Social Security taxes.
What exactly are work credits? The SSA bases the amount of work credits workers receive on total annual wages. Workers are limited to earning no more than four credits per year. Currently, anyone paying Social Security taxes through employment will earn one credit when they have made $1,400 in wages. Once you have earned four credits, this means you have earned $5,640. Earning beyond this amount will not give you more credits for that year. However, younger workers could qualify for SSDI with less credits than older workers need to receive SSDI.
Contact Joel Thrift Law Today for Immediate Legal Help with Disability Claims
Navigating the complexities of applying for SSI or SSDI or transitioning from one disability program to another can be time-consuming and stressful when you are the one disabled or you are taking care of a disabled individual. Atlanta disability attorney Joel Thrift Law has been helping clients get the disability benefits they deserve by representing them after they have been denied by the SSA or handling their disability claim from the beginning. Contact us today to learn more about transitioning from SSI to SSDI or to schedule a consultation appointment.