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The Difference Between SSDI and SSI

If you are applying for disability benefits from Social Security, it's important to know that there are actually two main types of disability benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN, April 23, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- If you are applying for disability benefits from Social Security, it's important to know that there are actually two main types of disability benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Both SSDI and SS I have the same definition of disability: To be eligible for benefits, an adult must not be able to do any substantial work because of a medical impairment that is expected to last at least a year or to result in death. But the two benefits have major differences in other eligibility requirements, the payment amounts and other benefits.

Eligibility Requirements

SSDI is essentially an insurance benefit. People who become too disabled to work after earning a certain number of work credits are eligible for this benefit. Credits are based on your wages and income from employment during a year. In 2014, for example, you receive one credit for each $1,200 you earn, up to four credits per year.

The number of credits you need depends on your age. From age 31 to 42, for example, you'll need 20 credits, or five years of work. At age 50, you'll need 28 credits, or seven years of work.

If you become disabled, you can qualify for SSDI even if you have assets and income from investments or other nonwork-related sources.

SSI is not based on your work history. The disability benefit was created for people who become too disabled to work and have little income and resources. Income includes earned income from jobs, unearned income such as unemployment benefits, other Social Security benefits and money from friends and relatives. There are exceptions, including food stamps, home energy assistance and need-based assistance.

Resources include cash, bank accounts, real estate and other property. You can have some property, such as your home and often your vehicle, and still be financially eligible for SSI. The limit for resources is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple.

Differences In Payments And Other Benefits

SSDI and SSI pay benefits differently. SSDI provides you with a monthly payment based on your earnings record. SSDI's monthly benefits are often higher than SSI benefits. SSI payments are based on your need. The amount can vary up to the maximum federal rate. In 2014, the maximum rate is $721 for an individual and $1,082 for a couple. Some states, including Missouri, add to federal SSI payments, giving recipients a higher monthly amount.

In addition to the cash benefits, being eligible for SSDI and SSI makes recipients eligible for medical coverage. For SSDI, recipients become eligible for Medicare after two years. For SSI, recipients in most states are automatically eligible for Medicaid.

Receiving SSDI And SSI

In some cases, you may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI. Usually this happens if you have been approved for SSDI, but you receive a low monthly payment. Combining SSDI and SSI will not result in a higher benefit than you would receive if you obtained SSI alone, but it can help boost your monthly payments.

These programs have other important differences. To learn whether SSDI or SSI may be right for you, contact an experienced disability attorney.

At Midwest Disability, our focus is on helping people get the benefits they're entitled to under the law. In fact, this is the only work do. And with more than 50 years of combined experience representing the injured and disabled, we can represent you efficiently while providing the personal and caring service you need to overcome today's difficulties.

Office Locations:
Minneapolis, Minnesota -- Kansas City, Missouri -- Chicago, Illinois

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Anna Cortez
Midwest Disability

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Voice: 888-351-0427
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