Clearing Out The Confusion: SSDI And SSI

When most people talk about Social Security, they might be referring to several different programs. Often, they are talking about their retirement benefit. There are two disability type programs, however, that people often get confused about. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) are both aimed at those with medical disabilities, but they should not be confused with each other. For a better understanding of how they are different, read on.

First, how they are alike

For both of these government sponsored programs that fall under the general heading of the Social Security Administration (SSA), the medical requirements are the same. In other words, your medical condition must meet the same standards for both programs. Both programs provide you with monthly monetary benefits for your disability.

How they differ

The most obvious way that these two programs differ is the people that the programs serve; one serves those who have worked and added money into the SSA system, and one serves those who have little to no income and own little to no property.

Social Security Disability Insurance

This program is for those who are unable to work at their jobs due to their medical condition. If you have ever received a paycheck, you may have noticed the Social Security deduction among taxes and other deductions. You have paid this money in, and if you have worked enough and you qualify medically, you are now entitled to receive some of that money back.

The system for calculating whether or not you have worked enough is somewhat unnecessarily complicated, but a basic understanding is required before apply for benefits. The SSA equates the dollar amount you earn within a certain amount of time to what they call "work credits", and you must have a certain number of work credits to get benefits from the SSDI program. Generally, you accumulate 1 work credit for every $1,200 that you earn from your job. Exactly how many you need to get benefits depends on your age and other factors. If you are a younger worker who hasn't had the opportunity to accrue many work credits, the SSA has a special method of calculating your ability to get benefits.

Supplemental Security Insurance

Many people have not worked enough to qualify for the SSDI program, so the SSA offers those with very low incomes another opportunity to get benefits through the SSI program. You cannot own more than about $2,000 in assets to qualify. Assets can be money in a bank account, jewelry, real estate and more. Generally, the home you live in and your personal vehicle is excluded from the calculation. Speak with a case worker for a better determination of what does and does not count as an asset.

If you need assistance with your Social Security claim, contact an attorney as soon as possible.