What are the Main Differences Between Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Click Here to Listen and Learn About the Differences Between SSD and SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD)

SSD are benefits that a person has accrued by paying Social Security through employment for a certain amount of time. You have to pay into the system five (5) years to be eligible for this benefit, and the amount of this benefit depends upon how much was paid in. You can pay in enough to earn disability benefits for yourself and a dependent. After five years of not paying Social Security tax or not paying enough, a person will run out of being eligible for this type of benefit due to no longer being insured. Besides this criteria, a person must also have a medical condition that meets the definition of disability under Social Security. However, it is unlike the definition for worker’s compensation, veteran’s benefits, short-term disability or other programs. It only pays benefits for total disability, and it has a very strict definition. Disability is defined as a physical and/or mental condition that has lasted or expected to last for at least one year or to result in death, and it must prevent a person from not only doing their past work but also any other job. If a person is approved for SSD, they will be eligible for Medicare after the waiting requirement has been met. The health insurance aspect is an extremely important component for most people who are applying for SSD.

Okay, so if that was SSD, what is SSI?

Unlike for SSD, for SSI a person does NOT have to have worked at all and meet the credit requirement, yet they DO have to be within the income, asset and resource limits to be eligible on a non-medical basis. For example, for single individuals you cannot have more than $2,000.00 in resources, and it’s $3,000.00 for those that are married. SSI has the same definition of disability as stated above for SSD. However, unlike SSD where a person would be entitled to Medicare, a person would automatically be eligible for Medicaid if they are approved for SSI. No matter how severe a person’s health conditions, if they are over income, assets or resource limits than they will be denied for a non-medical eligibility reason.

A person can receive SSD and SSI, and they can also be only eligible for either of the programs depending upon their work history and if they meet the income, asset and resource limits for SSI. If approved for SSD and SSI, they can also get Medicaid and Medicare.

Since the definition for SSD and SSI is the same, and a person’s health condition(s) has to last for at least 12 months or more, a person should apply as soon as they can, and they should also receive continuous medical treatment. Their health conditions need to be documented to prove their case.

The process to file an application and the overall process can be long and overwhelming, and it may be intensified while a person is ill, may be lacking in medical care and has no income for an extended period of time. To apply, please refer to the video or the written information on applying, and it should help to explain and simplify the process to allow you to apply.

This is just a brief overview of the two programs, SSD and SSI, but it highlights the major differences. For information on the individual programs, please refer to the specific information under each on the website.

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