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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Understanding the Distinction between Supplemental Security Income and Disability Benefits

Most often, we are confused with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) since both are colloquially referred to as “Social Security” only.

Generally, SSI and SSDI are two different Social Security programs. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that both are the same.

Apparently, the two programs actually differ on several aspects like required age, medical condition, application process, the money that a wage earner can expect to receive and the members who can be eligible to collect benefits.

For the benefit of members of the said federal programs, a Los Angeles SSI lawyer provided a brief and clear distinction of the two. See below how the said programs differ from each other.


From this category, you can easily understand the difference of the two programs. Basically, the Social Security Income is available for adults who are 65-years-old and older, for the blind and/or disabled. A claimant must prove that he or she has only a limited income and resources to be eligible for the program. That means that his or her savings would not be greater that $2,000.00 for singles while for married individuals, their savings should not go beyond $3,000.00. Also, the income of a claimant’s spouse would be considered when determining eligibility.

Meanwhile, Social Security Disability Insurance is available for individuals who have physical or mental impairments that hinder them from working for a year or more. To be eligible for the program, a claimant must have worked. In this program, a claimant must have 40 credits to qualify for the benefits. A worker can earn one credit in every $1,130.00 of his or her earnings. Usually, a wage earner can collect up to credits per year. Therefore, it takes a decade or more before a claimant may complete the required number of credits in able to collect the benefits.


While the SSI is being funded by the tax payers, the SSDI is being funded by the wage earners themselves. The federal government is funding SSI through personal income taxes, corporate taxes and others. On the other hand, the SSDI is being financially supported through the wage earners’ payroll or the so called FICA tax which the employees pay to the pay to the government.


As of January, 2012, the maximum amount of federal benefit that a single individual may receive under the SSI program is $698.00 and $1,048.00 for married claimants.

Under the SSDI program, the benefit that a claimant can received depends on his or her work earnings. Usually, they receive a maximum of about $2,300.00 per month.


When applying for SSI, an applicant must contact the Social Security Administration (SSA). Within 60 days following the call, a claimant must make an appointment to eventually file a formal application. A claimant for the SSI does not need to wait for a certain period of time for the benefits.

Unfortunately, unlike the SSI, applying for SSDI involves very complex processes. Along with the formal application, a claimant must also include medical records and treatment dates from a physician, lab results, and other details about his or her medical providers and employment in the last 15 years. In addition, a claimant has to wait for a period of 5 months for the claim.


Once a claimant has been approved for SSI benefits, he or she will immediately receive Medicaid Benefits. However, an approved claimant of SSDI must receive 24 payments first before becoming eligible to receive Medicare.


In SSI, only the recipients can receive the payments. In SSDI, aside from the recipients, their spouse and children can also receive at least partial dependent benefits.