Social Security administers two different disability programs. One is called Supplemental Security Income or SSI. The other is called SSD or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. People refer to this second program by a variety of acronyms, including SSD, SSDI, and DIB, but each are interchangeable and refer to the same program. So, what is the difference between SSI and SSD? SSI is primarily a federal welfare program for disabled individuals. SSI benefits are paid out of the yearly federal budget drawn from income taxes. They are not paid out of the Social Security trust fund.
There are a lot of complicated rules pertaining to eligibility for SSI. In general, you need to have a very low monthly income and less than $2,000 in assets. In making this asset calculation, the only things that are not included are your home or one car. Thus, to be eligible for SSI benefits, you have to show generally two things:
SSI Benefits and Eligibility
The first is the resource test. The second is whether you are disabled. SSD is a totally separate program, even though it is also administered by Social Security as well. The Social Security trust fund is the account out of which SSD is paid. In other words, it is paid for by the Social Security taxes that are automatically deducted from pay checks.
There is no resource test for SSD. Even a millionaire can receive disability insurance benefits. However, to qualify for SSD, generally, an individual will have had to work and pay taxes in the United States for at least ten years.
Social security disability is based on your earnings history. The more you worked, earned, and paid into the system, the higher your monthly benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has rules about how long you had to work in order to be eligible for SSD benefits.
It can get a little complicated. But, you can get a good idea of the Social Security Disability Benefits you would likely receive by looking at the last earnings statement the SSA sent you. On that statement, they estimate of what your monthly disability benefits would be if you are found disabled. The SSI office processes every request very carefully. Hence, it is better to gain sufficient knowledge about their guidelines before filing an application.
The Components of Disability Insurance & Income Benefits
Because you pay into the SSD benefits program with each pay check, it is similar to paying an insurance premium. If you weren’t working at the time you became disabled, you must meet the requirements to still be eligible for the program. For example, if you have worked steadily for ten years and then stopped, you will need to prove that you became disabled within approximately five years of when you stopped working.
So, there are two components for disability insurance. The first is whether you have worked long enough and recently enough. The second, as with SSI, is whether or not you are disabled. Some people are eligible for SSI. Some are eligible for SSD. Some are eligible for both programs and some are not eligible for either.
SSI is a type of welfare program that is based on need- In other words, if you do not meet the SSD work history requirements but are unable to work and meet the agency’s definition of “poor,” you may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Currently, SSI pays $674 per month to individuals and $1011 per month to eligible couples.
Aside from the fact that one program is based on work history and the other on need — the actual application process is essentially the same. The definition of “disability” for both programs is the same.
SSI Application Process
The online application process is a convenient process. But before applying, you must know the details needed to complete the application, the documents that need to be submitted, eligibility criteria, and other information. You can visit the SSA’s official website and read details about the requirements. Or, you can hire an attorney and have someone by your side who knows all the necessary information concerning the online SSI application.
You can talk to an experienced attorney for complete details. They can analyze your condition, inquire about your work history, review the documentation, and evaluate your case properly to determine your SSD/ SSI benefits eligibility.
SSA follows proper guidelines to process all the SSD/SSI applications. They make sure that details filled in on the application are 100% accurate, that the applicant submitted valid documents, and that all the documents are appropriately verified. If the person is found eligible to receive benefits, they will get the amount due to them without issue. However, if any document is not provided, or any information is found to be incorrect, the applicant may face denial.
Our lawyers have years of specialize SSA legal experience to draw upon. They know the system, the rules, and the potential pitfalls — inside and out.
You should speak with a competent Supplemental Security Income Lawyer to determine which program is the best one for your circumstances. In the end, the standard for disability is the same for both programs. In the simplest possible terms, disability is the inability to perform full-time work due to limitations caused by disabling medical conditions.
However, the rules pertaining to specific criteria for both Supplemental Security Income benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are complicated. Hopefully, this article provided a general idea of the differences between the two programs. If you are considering applying for either Supplemental Security Income Benefits or Social Security Disability benefits, please call our Philadelphia, PA office at (215) 464-7200.
Our team of attorneys is uniquely suited to help you succeed with disability claims of all types, including SSD claims for individuals nearing retirement age and SSI claims for children as well.
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