SSDI pays benefits to a person with disabilities if they meet certain criteria and contributed to the Social Security trust fund. SSI provides basic income needs and does not require a recipient to pay into the system to qualify.
SSDI vs. SSI
People with disabilities who are now unable to work may qualify for assistance from several different federal programs. Two of the most extensive programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While the Social Security Administration administers both of these programs, advisors need to know the difference between them.
SSDI pays benefits to a person with disabilities and certain family members of their family if they worked long enough and contributed to the Social Security trust fund. To qualify for SSDI, a person must meet Social Security disability criteria and be insured.
SSI is a program designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have few resources. SSI provides basic income needs and does not require a recipient to pay into the system to qualify. To qualify for SSI, a person must meet Social Security disability criteria and have limited income and resources. Limited income is defined as countable assets worth less than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.
Social Security Administration Disability Criteria
The Social Security Administration determines if someone is disabled by asking a series of questions regarding their ability to work and whether they have a recognized medical condition. Advisors should visit the Social Security Administration website to help determine if a client may qualify. For example, if your client is working and earning more than $1,310 a month and their condition does not significantly limit their ability to do basic work activities, they likely won't qualify for either program.
Those who are ready to apply for disability benefits should visit the Social Security Administration website for help determining when and how to apply for benefits. The Disability Starter Kit provides additional information about the interview, application process, and other resources. If your client's application is rejected, they may want to consider contacting a disability attorney to help them navigate the appeals process.