The Difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income

For those searching for help with disability claims, it’s important to understand social security disability benefits. There are two different programs that offer benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and that article covers only one. This article will give you the proper information about both benefits, as you need to be aware of what each program covers, which you need to apply for, and why. This way you’ll be able to accurately judge which programs will best help your particular case.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance is essentially the program that is built to assist seniors, adults, and children, including those that are blind and/or disabled, preventing or limiting work. When dealing with disabilities, this is the more likely of the two programs that you’d be enrolling in. Although signing up is easy, the process of actually gaining approval is more difficult.

If you’re curious to see ahead of time which programs within the plan you’re eligible for, you’re in luck.  The SSA, or the Social Security Administration, has the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool on their website. The questionnaire tells you what you’re eligible for, without giving you exact amounts, showing you which programs will likely assist you.

More about SSDI

That being said, the SSDI has specifics rules on how it all works. SSDI is a program that people are buying into as they work. What this means is that while you are working, the government is taking a bit of money out of each paycheck to help pay for the program.

One key thing to note is how much you can work and still receive benefits. Basically, they monitor you for a 9-month trial to see how much you’re working, and how much you’re making. Generally, any month where you make over $810 is a trial month. According to this article, if you’re self-employed, any month you work over 80 hours is also considered a trial month. After nine months they make an accurate determination on where you fall and how your benefits are going to be affected.

Read more: Steps to Successfully apply for Social Security Disability 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income is maintained for a different reason. SSI is geared more towards those who do not possess the ability to work and haven’t for some time. Because Social Security Disability Insurance is something that you buy into the longer you work, they have this program for those who can’t buy in.

This program is designed for those who have, and have always had very little income. Much like the other Social Security program, it’s mainly designed for the elderly and the disabled, but it offers a stipend to help you get by. You can actually receive SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time, so if you manage to qualify for one, there is, in fact, the chance to qualify for the other. The SSA website has a full list of circumstances relating to your eligibility and rates. Based on their guidelines, they don’t count all forms of monetary exchange as income, however, the more you have, the lower your rates will be.

Signing up for either of these programs is quite easy, as the SSA makes it simple to find the sign-up page for SSI and SSDI, along with further information about both. More information can also be found by looking through other articles on this site, as well as on the SSA website.

This is just a starting point. We also recommend you read other resources on the Basics of Social Security, which can also give you the next steps in your search for information.

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