SSI vs. SSDI

The Social Security Administration administers two major programs for the disabled: SSDI and SSI. It is important for disabled individuals to understand the difference between these two programs to ensure that they receive all benefits to which they are entitled.

 

SSDI, short for Social Security Disability Insurance, is a disability program paid for through workers’ FICA taxes. Like any type of insurance, premiums are paid into the system, and, in return, the worker paying the premiums is insured for a certain period of time if they should become disabled. In order to be eligible, a disabled worker must prove that they became disabled prior to the time that their insurance lapsed. This can be quite difficult at times, especially for disabled individuals that have not worked or paid taxes in many years. The assistance of an experienced disability attorney is often critical in winning these types of cases.

 

SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is a program similar to SSDI, but there is no requirement that one pay into the system to be eligible. Instead, SSI is designed as a disability program for very low income individuals. In order to be eligible, an individual must be able to demonstrate that they own less than $2,000 in assets if unmarried, and less than $3,000 in assets if married, not counting certain exempt assets such as a car used for transportation or a house used as their primary residence. 

 

These programs are not mutually exclusive. A disabled worker that has paid into the system and meets the income requirements may be eligible for both SSDI and SSI.

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