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SSI and SSDI: What’s the difference?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2020 | Firm News, SSDI

Americans who need assistance for their impairments have help available. The two most common forms of support many rely on include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs share many qualities. However, they also have slight variations. That’s why understanding the difference between the two can be challenging.

What is SSDI?

SSDI focuses on physical and mental impairments. A person may want SSDI when these impairments prevent them from living a normal existence. To obtain SSDI, a person’s disability must last for at least one year or eventually result in death. Some common types of conditions people rely on disability insurance for include:

  • Blood clots
  • Cancer
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Asthma/lung infections

What is SSI?

SSI provides benefits to low-income seniors and people with disabilities. One way this program differs from SSDI is it’s typically for those with limited wealth. Another key differentiator is how each program gets financed. SSI receives funds from Treasury Department revenue and SSDI gets funds through Social Security employment taxes.

Meeting qualifications

To determine eligibility for benefits, the Social Security Administration adds up what they call a person’s “resources.” These include things like the amount of money in a person’s bank account, personal property and other assets. If a person’s assets exceed $2000 or $3000 for a couple, they likely can’t receive benefits.

When applying for either, the SSA typically looks at a person’s income. Applying for SSDI can come with extra complications. That’s because the SSA counts some earnings and ignores others when determining eligibility. Depending on how much a person makes, they can still earn modest levels of income and still receive benefits.

The application process can be challenging

While receiving Social Security benefits is possible, the process can’t be completed overnight. Fortunately, those looking to obtain benefits can do so with persistent and compassionate legal representation.