If you are unable to work at your job because of an injury or illness, there are two different benefit programs available to help you. Both SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) are federal government programs that assist those with medical issues with monetary payments. The two programs do have a few similarities, but they have many differences. Since these two programs are so frequently confused, read on to learn more about each program and how they serve different populations.
A Few Similarities
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both of these benefit programs.
- Both of these programs use the same factors to determine your medical eligibility. In other words, you qualify medically the same way for each program, with proof of your medical condition using your medical records.
- Both programs place limits on how much income you can earn and still get benefits.
Supplemental Security Insurance
This program is aimed at people who have very little money or property, and most people who qualify will also likely qualify for other government assistance programs, like food stamps or housing assistance. The SSA allows SSI recipients to possess property as long as it does not exceed $2,000 in value. While this seems like an extremely low amount, keep in mind that you are allowed to exclude your family home and a vehicle from that $2,000. It should be noted that the SSA does not count all of your income and property and has provided a calculator and some additional guidelines to help you get a rough idea of what doesn't need to be included in your calculations.
Social Security Disability Insurance
If you have worked enough in your lifetime before you became disabled, you may qualify for this second type of benefit program. The SSDI program uses money that has been deducted from your paychecks to fund it. Your ability to qualify is based not only on your medical condition but on how many work credits you have accumulated in a certain period of time. The SSA equates a work credit to $1,300 in income earned, and you must generally have at least 40 credits to use those benefits. Of those 20 work credits, at least 20 of them must have been earned in the most recent 10-year period. For younger workers who become disabled, there is a special method of calculating eligibility, since they have not had as much time to accumulate the work credits.
If you have been denied your Social Security benefits, speak to an attorney.