Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are often perplexing to applicants for benefits. This confusion about SSDI and SSI occurs because in both cases individuals apply for the programs with the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, as this article will demonstrate, the programs are vastly different. It is possible for an individual to receive both SSDI and SSI benefits if SSDI benefits are below the eligibility threshold for SSI benefits.

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, an applicant must be completely disabled based on “disability” as defined by the Social Security Administration. Applicants must also have worked and paid Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) premiums while employed. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monetary and medical benefits to adults and children who are blind or disabled and who have also met applicable non-disability income and resources requirements.

SSDI Is an Entitlement Program. SSI Is a Means-Tested Program.

The two programs have distinctly different financial requirements. SSI provides a means-tested benefit designed to assist the elderly, blind and disabled pay for basic needs like food and shelter.

SSDI is an entitlement program that is available to any individual who has paid into the Social Security system for at least ten years, regardless of current income and assets. All qualified working wage-earners are theoretically potential SSDI recipients, even if they earn high-income wages.

SSI Recipients May Receive Medicaid. SSDI Recipients May Receive Medicare.

An individual who receives SSI typically qualifies for Medicaid benefits immediately.  In contrast, SSDI recipients are eligible to receive Medicare two years after the commencement of their eligibility for SSDI benefits. Because Medicare does not provide coverage as comprehensive as Medicaid, many Medicare beneficiaries purchase private policies to supplement their primary Medicare coverage.

The Amount of Available Monthly Benefits May Widely Vary.
SSI and SSDI benefits vary widely in the amount of potential monthly benefits provided.  In 2017, the federal SSI payment standard will be $735 per month for an individual, $1,103 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $368 for an essential person. This monthly amount may be reduced by subtracting monthly countable income. If an eligible individual has an eligible spouse, the amount payable is divided equally between both spouses.

Typically, the majority of SSDI recipients receive a monthly payment of between $300 and $2,200 with an average SSDI payment of $1,171 a month. Because SSDI is based on a recipient’s wage history, some SSDI beneficiaries may receive significantly more than this. Also, since SSI benefits are reduced by any other income received by an SSI beneficiary, many SSI recipients will receive less than the $735 federal payment standard.  If an individual receives an SSDI benefit above the maximum SSI payment, he or she won’t be eligible for SSI.

The assistance of an experienced disability attorney may help you navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. Retain the services of an experienced, knowledgeable, and qualified Social Security Disability attorney. We offer free consultations, so there is absolutely nothing to lose! Contact the Sullivan Law Office to get the help you need in the Louisville metro area. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Three Major Differences Between SSI and SSDI