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What distinguishes SSDI eligibility from that of SSI?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | SSDI

If you’re a person living with a disability in the United States that impairs your ability to work, you may have access to two primary government support sources: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It can be easy to mistake one for the other if you pronounce them as abbreviations, but when you spell them out, you can tell they’re quite distinct.

Both of these programs provide financial support for individuals living with disabilities. However, they don’t have the same eligibility criteria. If you’re in the process of applying for financial aid, you can benefit from distinguishing the eligibility requirements of these government programs.

You earn SSDI benefits

You can only be eligible for SSDI benefits if you’ve been working and paying into the Social Security system through your payroll taxes. In order to qualify for the insurance benefits, your disability has to be significant enough to prevent you from working to earn a living.

Moreover, you must have accumulated sufficient work credits over the years. Your work credits will depend on the income you earned throughout your working career and your Social Security contributions.

The longer you’ve been working, the more likely you’ll have accumulated the 40 credits you need to qualify for SSDI. However, younger workers can also qualify thanks to the special provisions that make room for fewer work credits.

SSI is need-based support

Unlike SSDI, SSI is a need-based government program. Therefore, you don’t need a work history to be eligible. However, there are strict resource and limitation cut-offs to control those who can be eligible for the program. When you send in an application, you can expect to go through a thorough means test to verify if you fall under the set income and resource limits.

If you’re a person living with a disability whose lack of income has restricted your financial resources, you may qualify for SSI. Additionally, you have to be blind, have a disability before you clocked 18 years or be at least 65 years old. Remember, your disability must be severe enough to prevent you from working to earn an income.

Differentiating between the eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSI is crucial if you’re seeking disability benefits. Suppose you’re not confident in your knowledge of these government programs; the appropriate legal guidance can help clarify your situation. This way, you can send in an impressive application to boost your odds of qualifying.