The Difference Between SSI and SSDI

What types of disability benefits are offered by the Social Security Administration?

The fact that anyone can become ill or suffer an injury at any time and not be able to work is reason to be concerned. However, there are benefit programs that the Social Security Administration has in place for disabled individuals, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are differences between the two programs, however.

SSI and SSDI at a Glance

Supplemental Security Income is designed for individuals who are disabled, blind or over 65 and is based on need. In order to be eligible, the applicant’s income and resources must fall below a certain threshold, but these benefits are available regardless of whether the individual paid into the Social Security System.

In short an individual who has resources exceeding $2,000, excluding a primary residence, is not eligible (the threshold is $3,000 for a couple). In addition, the Social Security Administration considers income greater than $65 a month into its determination. Every two dollars earned greater than that amount will result in a one dollar reduction in the monthly benefit.

Social Security Disability Income is similar to retirement benefits in that it is based on an individual’s work record. A benefit determination considers the applicant’s age at the time he or she became disabled and the corollary amount of time worked.  Generally, duration of work ranges from 1.5 years for individuals who become disabled prior to the age of 28, to 9.5 years for those who 60 or older.

In order to qualify, the disability must be due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least for one year and/or result in death. In particular, the SSA will seek to determine whether the disability limits an individual’s ability to perform the work he or she did before, or any other type of work.

What benefits are available under SSI and SSDI?

There is a difference in the amount of benefits paid out under each program.  SSI pays a standard benefit – currently $733 for individuals and $1,100 for couples; however a supplementary payment may also be available from the state. SSDI benefits , on the hand, can vary because they are based on work records. Information about work history and the amount of available SSDI benefits is readily available from the Social Security Administration for those who have an online mySocial Security account.

While the good news is that SSI and SSDI benefits are available for those who become disabled, the application process can be quite complicated, and many disability claims are denied. By engaging the services of an experienced Social Security attorney, however, your chances of obtaining disability benefits improve dramatically.

What Is the Maximum Income to Qualify for SSI?     

You can receive other income and still qualify for SSI, but your benefits may be reduced or even eliminated, depending on how much you make.