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SSI vs. SSDI: Differences, Benefits, and How to Apply

SSI vs. SSDI: Differences, Benefits, and How to Apply

Trying to make sense of disability benefits can often feel like a maze. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re considering applying for disability benefits or simply looking to better understand your options, knowing the differences between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a game-changer.

Are you or a loved one thinking about applying for disability benefits? Explore your options online or call the seasoned legal team of Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation and/or case evaluation. Still undecided? That’s perfectly fine! Please continue reading to learn more now.

What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a kind of financial safety net designed by the federal government. It helps individuals with limited income and resources who are aged 65 and above, blind, or disabled.

The beauty of SSI is that it doesn’t hinge on your work history, as it focuses entirely on financial need. In this way, you can think of SSI benefits as a monthly payment to help cover such basic necessities as food, clothing, and shelter. Put differently, SSI is a lifeline for people who need it most.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that you contribute to throughout your lifetime. In point of fact, each time you’ve paid Social Security taxes from your hard-earned income, you’ve been securing your SSDI benefits.

This program provides disability payments to people who’ve paid into the Social Security trust fund and find themselves unable to work due to a medical condition. SSDI benefits are calculated based on your earnings record, reflecting the contributions you’ve made over the years.

What Are Key Differences Between SSI vs. SSDI?

While SSI focuses on helping people with limited income and resources, SSDI caters to individuals with a long-term work history who have paid into the Social Security system. SSI is means-tested; SSDI is earnings-based.

In disability benefits, knowing which program applies to your situation can make all the difference. And that’s where we step in — Schwartzapfel Lawyers is here to help you identify and apply for the program that best suits your needs. 

But you shouldn’t wait, as your window to file a claim and recover all the benefits you deserve may soon close forever. To keep that from happening, act now and call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 today.

Who Is Eligible for SSDI?

You can think of SSDI as a reward for your years of hard work. To qualify, you need “work credits” that you gain through working at your job and paying Social Security taxes (i.e., FICA). 

The number of credits you need depends on your age and when you became disabled. Generally speaking, you must have (40) credits, and (20) of those need to have been earned in the last decade. It’s worth noting that younger workers could qualify with even fewer credits.

Note: Even if your work story is short, you might still qualify for SSDI under a family member’s work history if you’re a disabled child or a spouse.

To this end, each paycheck in which you’ve paid Social Security taxes adds to the total amount of money you can receive. This way, when it comes time to collect SSDI, the amount you get is a reflection of what you’ve contributed.

What About SSI Eligibility?

SSI is about your financial situation, not your work history. To qualify, your income and resources need to be below certain limits.

SSI is a helping hand for those with a more modest wallet, like individuals who have a low income, limited resources (Note: the limit is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple), and are aged 65 and over, blind, or disabled.

SSI eligibility is not about what you’ve contributed but about what you need. This program is means-tested, focusing on your current income and assets. To qualify, your resources must be below specific limits so that people who need help the most get it.

Do I Need Disability Determination For SSI/SSDI?

Whether it’s SSI or SSDI, disability plays a pivotal role. The Social Security Administration has a clear definition of what constitutes a disability: being unable to work due to an impairment (mental or physical) diagnosed by a medical professional.

This impairment should either be expected to result in death or has lasted (or is expected to last) less than twelve months over a continuous period.

How Do You Apply For SSI And SSDI?

Ready to apply? Here’s how to get started:

  1. Gather Your Information: Before you jump in, make sure you have your medical records, work history, and recent earnings on hand.
  2. The Application: You can apply for SSDI online at the SSA website or at your local Social Security office. For SSI, the SSA usually requires a visit to their local office, but you can start the process over the phone or online.
  3. Waiting Period and Processing: For SSDI, there is a five (5) month waiting period. This means your benefits will start in the sixth full month after the date your disability began. SSI doesn’t have this waiting period, so benefits may begin sooner.

In both applications, your medical evidence is key. It explains your disability and how it affects your life and work. The SSA needs to see concrete evidence of your condition, its severity, and how it impacts your daily activities. This is where detailed medical records, doctor’s notes, and treatment histories are necessary.

Feeling overwhelmed by the application process? You don’t have to go it alone. Call the knowledgeable team at Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 for experienced legal assistance. Alternatively, you can schedule your free consultation online now.

No matter your situation or needs, we’re here to ensure your application is thorough and complete, giving you the best chance of success.

How Much Will I Receive For SSI And SSDI Benefits?

SSI and SSDI offer different levels of financial support.

SSI payments are designed to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. In 2024, the SSI payment for an individual is set at $943 per month, while a couple can receive $1,415 per month. Remember, these amounts can vary if you have other income.

SSDI reflects your work history — it’s like getting back a piece of what you’ve put in. Your monthly SSDI benefit is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began.

So, the more you’ve worked and contributed to Social Security taxes, the higher your benefits. The maximum monthly benefit amount is $4,873.

Health Insurance Coverage

Health insurance coverage is a crucial part of both SSI and SSDI. However, depending on whether the filing is for SSI or SSDI, it will be handled differently – that is, the coverage will be processed according to its respective SSI or SSDI status.

SSI and Medicaid

If you’re receiving SSI, you’re typically eligible for Medicaid, too. Medicaid is a health care program that helps with medical costs for people with limited income and resources, and it often comes automatically with your SSI benefits.

SSDI and Medicare

For people receiving SSDI, you’ll receive Medicare health insurance. However, there’s a 24-month waiting period after your date of entitlement to SSDI benefits to become eligible for coverage.

Should I Choose SSI or SSDI?

Deciding between SSI and SSDI isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s about understanding your unique situation. Thus, to make the most of your claim, you should consider such factors as work history, current income, and other financial resources available to you.

Moreover, your personal circumstances — e.g., whether you’re dealing with a recent disability or a long-term struggle, young or retired, single or with dependents — play a huge part in this decision. This is where a knowledgeable disability benefits lawyer will come in handy.

Get in Touch With Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

In order to successfully handle your disability benefits, knowing the ins and outs of SSI and SSDI is key. In this way, the process is about more than just filling out forms; it’s about securing your financial future.

As evidenced by our more than (150) years of combined experience, we at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are committed to fighting for your success every step of the way. So, please, don’t let uncertainty keep you away from all the benefits you’re entitled to.

Instead, act now and reach out to Schwartzapfel Lawyers by dialing 516-342-2200 or visiting us online to schedule your free consultation today. Together, we’ll work to get you all the money and benefits you deserve.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!


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