Both SSI, which is Supplement Security Income, and SSDI, which is Social Security Disability Insurance, are government benefits programs for the disabled and are managed by the Social Security Administration. There are important differences of which you should be aware, if you are trying to determine which program to which you should apply.
Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI benefits are funded through an employee’s payroll taxes. In order to be eligible for SSDI, you must have earned sufficient “work credits.” Work credits are based on your age and the date you become disabled. You must also be between the ages of 18 and 65 and have worked sat least some part of five out of the ten years prior to becoming disabled. None of these requirements apply to Supplement Security Income.
SSDI benefits are also subject to a five-month waiting period. This means you will not be able to receive disability benefits for the first five months you are disabled. Once your benefits begin, the amount of your monthly benefit payment, much like your Social Security retirement benefits, will depend on your record of earnings. The average payment amount ranges from $700 to $1,400 a month.
Under SSDI, your spouse and dependent children may also eligible to receive partial benefits, based on your eligibility.
Supplemental Security Income
Unlike SSDI, SSI is a completely need-based program. Therefore, your eligibility is not based in any way on your work history. To be eligible, you must have less than $2,000 in assets if you are single and less than $3,000 if you are married. You must also have very limited income. When evaluating your income, the Social Security Administration considers different sources, such as, the cash value of food stamps, grants, and income tax refunds. A more complete list of recognized income sources is available on the Social Security Administration’s website.
Another difference between SSI and SSDI is that, each state has its own requirements and guidelines regarding SSI eligibility. The amount of your benefits will also differ depending on your state. For federal Social Security purposes, there are four criteria that must be met to be eligible for SSI:
- You must be blind, disabled, or age 65 or over
- You must be either a citizen of the United States, or meet other very narrow requirements
- Your monthly income must be below a certain level, and
- The property you own must be worth less than $2,000 for an individual, or $3,000 for a couple.
As of 2014, assuming your application for SSI benefits is approved, your minimum SSI benefits will be $721 and for a couple it will increase to $1,082. If you have questions regarding Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplement Security Income in Joplin and throughout Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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