Both Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) and the supplemental security income (SSI) program provide cash benefits for those who are disabled. However, each has different eligibility requirements. If you’re unable to earn a living wage because of a disability, a knowledgeable lawyer can determine which you might be able to collect and then help with the application process. In the meantime, here's what you should know about the major differences between these two benefits programs.
What Is SSDI?
Social Security disability insurance is a federal program that collects a small portion of every paycheck. By paying into this program, you earn credits, and once you accumulate enough credits, you’re entitled to benefits should you develop a qualifying disability. Although there are exceptions for younger individuals who haven’t been in the workforce long, you must typically earn 40 credits, with 20 having been earned in the past 10 years, before you qualify. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year. In 2019, you’ll earn one credit for every $1,360 of income.
What Is SSI?
Supplemental security income is for disabled individuals who have never worked or have yet to earn enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. This need-based program is funded by general tax revenue. Whereas SSDI doesn’t have any income or resource limits because it’s an insurance program that you pay into, SSI caps assets. This is because it’s solely for low-income individuals. As of 2019, claimants will only qualify for SSI if their total countable resources do not exceed $2,000 for individuals or $3,000 for couples.
Can I Collect Both SSDI & SSI?
In certain scenarios, it’s possible to receive concurrent benefits. Generally speaking, individuals will qualify for both if they receive SSDI but their monthly payment is relatively low. This can happen if your earnings were fairly low prior to becoming disabled or you haven’t worked much in recent years. It’s important to remember that your SSDI benefits could be reduced upon receiving SSI, though, because SSI is only for low-income individuals. Since submitting a concurrent claim is inherently complicated and every situation is different, it’s wise to consult a lawyer before doing so.
If you want to apply for SSDI, SSI, or both, turn to the compassionate disability lawyers at Stine & Associates, P.C. Located in Greensburg, PA, this firm is backed by more than two decades of experience. Serving clients across Westmoreland County, their attorneys focus on helping injured, ill, and disabled parties. Their areas of expertise include workers’ compensation, personal injury law, and Social Security disability. To request a consultation with a seasoned lawyer on their team, call (724) 837-0160 or reach out online.