Two benefit programs from the Social Security Administration (SSA), SSDI and SSI, are sometimes confused with each other. You may often hear these terms used interchangeably, but each program serves a different population and there are major differences in how the benefits are determined. Read on to learn about the main similarities and differences of the Social Security Disability program and the Supplemental Security Insurance program.
1. Both programs determine your medical disability eligibility the same way.
2. Both programs are federal government-sponsored and are administered by the SSA.
3. Both programs provide monthly benefit payments to people who are unable to work at their jobs because of a medical condition.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
This program is aimed at people who have done the minimum amount of work and earned enough "work credits". These work credits accumulate at a rate of 1 work credit per $1,260 earned, and you usually need at least 20 credits to qualify for benefits. The actual amount of work credits needed varies by your age, and for those under age 31 special calculations are used. This program is closely related to the Social Security retirement program since it is also based on your lifetime of work earnings.
If you are approved for benefits, you must undergo a 5-month waiting period before you actually being receiving benefits. Additionally, since it can take many months to be approved, you may be eligible for back pay from the SSA. This payment covers you from the time that the SSA decides that your disability began, to the time you are approved and begin receiving monthly benefit payments (and deducting the 5-month waiting period.)
Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI)
For those who have not worked enough to earn enough work credits, you may qualify for SSI. This program uses your income and property to determine your eligibility, rather than work credits. The income and property limits to qualify for SSI are quite low, since the program is aimed at those with fewer resources. You cannot have more than $2,000 worth of personal property, but your home and other possessions are not counted toward that figure.
Generally, if you are eligible for other government-sponsored financial assistance programs, such as housing assistance, food stamps, etc, you will also be eligible, at least financially, for SSI. Not all income that is available to you is used for determining your eligibility, so the SSA has created a helpful calculator to assist in an estimation of deductions.
If you are experiencing problems getting your Social Security benefits approved, contact a Social Security attorney (such as Timothy W Hudson Attorney) for help.
I'll be up front: I have a criminal record. As someone who's spent lots--and lots--of time looking for a job in my life, I've gotten used to being up front with this fact. It's difficult to get hired with this on my record, and frankly, it never gets less scary to have to tell an interviewer about it. But that doesn't mean I'm unemployable. I'm a hard worker who can bring a lot to any company. And I also know what an employer needs to do for me. I know my rights. There's no federal law protecting me from discrimination due to my record, but there are plenty of state laws that make it a little easier for me. If you're looking for a job and you have a criminal record, read through this information. Protect yourself during a job search. Know your rights.