Don't Be Confused: SSI And SSDI

There are two major government programs to help those who are too sick to work, and it's extremely easy to get them confused with each other. They actually have a few similarities, but they are aimed at entirely different people. One is more for workers, and one is for those who are low income. Read on to learn more about these two programs so that you'll know which one suits your situation the best.

Similarities between the two

There are really just two ways that these programs are alike:

  1. They both use the same method of determining if you are medically qualified to earn benefits.
  2. They are both government programs run under the umbrella of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

If you have worked enough in your lifetime by the time you become ill, you may qualify for SSDI. This program uses funds that have been deducted from worker's paychecks as a form of insurance against disability. In many cases, workers will go on to receive retirement pay from this fund, unless they become disabled before that time and need the benefits for income. Only people who have accumulated enough work credits can benefit from this program. You earn work credits for every dollar you earn, and you must have enough (recent) credits to qualify. If you are very young and have not had the opportunity to earn these credits, there are special provisions.

Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI)

If you have not worked enough to get SSDI, you may be able to get SSI. There are no work credit requirements for SSI, but you can only have so much income and property. If you have less than $2,000 in assets you might qualify for SSI. Usually, the main family home and vehicle are exempt from that amount.

In general, those that qualify for SSI will also meet the income requirement for other forms of government assistance, such as food stamps and housing assistance. Some of your income is not counted toward the limit, so working closely with a Social Security caseworker to determine your eligibility is important. It should also be noted that SSI is available for disabled children.

You should understand that applying for benefits from the SSA is long process, and may be complicated by confusing applications and requests for medical proof of your illness. If you have been turned down for benefits, you have the right to appeal the denial. Speak to a Social Security attorney like Timothy  W Hudson Attorney for assistance in getting the benefits you need.