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Posted on: 05/02/13

SSDI verses SSI Disability Benefits

Category: Article

What's the Difference?


When applying for Social Security benefits, you submit claims for two different disability benefit programs managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You will see references to SSDI benefits and SSI benefits. What's the difference and which program do you want?

There are several difference between the programs:

Social Security Disability Insurance is known as SSDI or simply SSD.

  • The program pays benefits to individuals who meet the SSA definition of disability.
  • Income level or financial resources are not considered.
  • The program is financed through Social Security "FICA" taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons.
  • To be eligible for SSD benefits, workers must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes.
  • Social Security automatically enrolls claimants in Medicare insurance after they receive disability benefits for two years.
  • Your monthly benefit amount is based on your average lifetime earnings covered under Social Security. Your annual Social Security Statement estimates your monthly disability benefit.
  • Payments you receive from worker's compensation, a public disability benefit, or pension based on earnings not covered under Social Security can reduce your Social Security disability payment.
The Supplemental Security Income program is known as SSI.
  • The program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.
  • Payments are made on the basis of financial need.
  • SSI benefits are also payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits.
  • SSI is financed through general revenues.
  • Many states, including Idaho and Oregon, consider you eligible for Medicaid insurance if you are eligible for SSI. Idaho and Oregon require you to file a separate application, however.
  • Effective January 2009, the SSI payment for an eligible individual is $674 per month and $1,011 per month for an eligible couple.
  • Generally, the more income you have, the less your SSI benefit will be. If your countable income is over the allowable limit, you cannot receive SSI benefits.
There is no penalty for applying for both programs. Since the programs have different purposes and eligibility requirements, you may be accepted by one program and declined by the other. In certain circumstances, you may receive payments from both programs simultaneously. So typically it is best to apply for both programs.


Ernest Shell's succussful claims include

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