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The Basic Differences Between SSI And SSDI

By Kenton Koszdin on August 14, 2018 | In Disability Insurance

The Basic Differences Between SSI And SSDI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) often confuse and perplex those who apply for disability benefits. This confusion and lack of certainty about what both programs individually offer typically occurs because individuals apply for the benefits offered by both programs. Yet, the programs are markedly different. Keep in mind that an individual may receive both SSDI and SSI benefits if SSDI benefits are below the eligibility threshold for SSI benefits.

An applicant must be completely disabled based on “disability” as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Applicants must also have worked and paid Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) premiums when employed. In contrast, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monetary and medical benefits to adults and children who are disabled or blind and who meet applicable income and resources requirements.

Of significance is the fact that the two programs have distinctly different financial requirements. SSI offers a means-tested benefit designed to assist the elderly, blind and disabled pay for basic needs such as food and shelter.

SSDI is an entitlement program available to any individual who has paid into the Social Security system for at least ten years, with no regard for the applicant’s current income and assets. Any working wage-earner may qualify and receive SSDI, even if he or she earns high-income wages.

SSDI recipients are eligible to receive Medicare two years after their eligibility for SSDI benefits begins. Whereas an individual who receives SSI immediately qualifies for Medicaid benefits.  Medicare does not provide coverage as comprehensive as Medicaid which requires many Medicare beneficiaries to buy private policies to supplement their primary Medicare coverage.

The benefits provided by SSI and SSDI vary widely in the amount of monthly benefits.  In 2018, the federal SSI payment standard is $750 per month for an individual, $1,125 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $376 for an essential person. The monthly amount is subject to reduction of monthly countable income. If an eligible individual has an eligible spouse, the amount payable is divided equally between the spouses.

Since SSDI is based on a recipient’s wage history, some beneficiaries may receive significantly more than the payment standard. Because SSI benefits may be reduced by other qualifying income received by a beneficiary, many SSI recipients will receive less than the $750 federal payment standard.  Individuals receiving SSDI benefits above the maximum SSI payment are not eligible for SSI.

Working with an attorney that is experienced in California Social Security disability cases ensures that you have the best chance of initially filing a successful disability application, thus avoiding the necessity of any appeal. Thus, it may be time to contact Kenton Koszdin Law Office today. We offer free office and in-home consultations at your complete convenience. Call 800-438-7734 or visit us online. We look forward to your call or email! Se habla espańol!

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