What’s the Difference Between SSI & SSDI?

What's the Difference Between SSI & SSDI?

The Social Security Administration offers two types of assistance: SSI and SSDI. Both are designed to assist individuals who can no longer work to earn a wage due to either their age or having a disability. Individuals that qualify for either program receive monthly payments to assist them in meeting their day-to-day needs.

Both SSI & SSDI have has specific & distinct eligibility requirements that must be met by an applicant, to qualify. Moreover, the benefits of both disability programs are also slightly different.

SSI/SSDI Basics: Means vs. Entitlement

SSI has a strict set of eligibility requirements. As a “means-tested” program, to qualify for SSI, an individual must meet the eligibility requirements in place for age, blindness, or a qualifying disabling condition. The process for applying for this type of assistance can be quite lengthy and may take several attempts before finally being approved. In terms of receiving SSI for a disability, you must prove that you are not able to work due to your injury or illness and that there are no jobs that you can perform efficiently.

SSDI, on the other hand, is a program for individuals who have worked for at least ten years and that have paid into the program during that time.  SSDI is best thought of as an insurance policy that workers pay into.  For this reason, SSDI has little to do with one’s means.  The amount of $ one has saved, or in their bank account is irrelevant to the qualification for this benefit. Anyone who has paid into the program is entitled to receive SSDI if they become totally disabled from being able to work.

Medicaid or Medicare for SSI & SSDI

When it comes to healthcare coverage, individuals who receive SSI are placed on Medicaid while those receiving SSDI will likely receive Medicare.

Medicaid is a comprehensive healthcare plan that offers various types of coverage and can be used for almost all health-related needs, including prescriptions. Medicaid programs are funded by both the state and the federal government.

A person who receives SSDI will begin receiving their Medicare benefits approximately two days after being approved. Although Medicare is a federally sponsored health insurance policy through the Social Security Administration, it is less comprehensive than Medicaid and typically only covers routine medical care and hospital stays. Individuals have the option to pay for additional supplemental forms of insurance to close the gaps in the coverage. Supplementals are referred to as “Medigap” policies for this reason. 

SSI & SSDI: Differences in Benefits

As of 2019, the maximum payment received by an individual on SSI was $771 per month. This is a set amount and can be reduced depending on whether or not the person receiving benefits also receives additional income through partial employment or other benefits (VA disability for exampled).

Individuals are allowed to earn a specific amount each month without affecting their SSI payments, once they begin to exceed that threshold, their payment will be reduced by a percentage based on the amount they earn through their employment.

The average SSDI payment per month is $1,234. Because this is an entitlement program based on what an individual has paid into the program over their employment career, they may be entitled to a larger or lesser amount each month. The award amount will depend on how much they paid into the system while they were working. Usually, the longer they spent in the workforce paying into the account, the more substantial their monthly income from SSDI.

Call Joel Thrift Law Today

Applying for SSI and SSDI can be quite confusing. When it comes to an understanding of the guidelines and eligibility requirements, a lot of people are shooting in the dark. Unfortunately, whether you were denied these benefits due to errors of your own or errors of the Social Security Administration, is all up to interpretation.  One thing you can do today, though, is get a seasoned Social Security Attorney to review your claim and provide options for overcoming any denials that you’ve received.

Contact Us Today if you have an SSI or SSDI claim with the Social Security Administration and need help!