Social security disability benefits can be confusing for some because there are two key programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Confusion can result in delays or denial of benefits, and that's something you cannot afford at a time when you are in need of these benefits and, for some of you, might be recovering from an injury or illness.
At Jung Disability and Injury Advocates, our social security benefits lawyer in South Carolina explains the key differences between the programs so that you can have a better understanding of what applies to your situation. It never hurts, though, to speak to a benefits attorney to clarify any enduring misunderstandings and to find out more about your eligibility. Contact us today at (843) 576-4200 to schedule a free consultation, and we will discuss your best options.
Social security disability benefits are issued to individuals who qualify through several different programs, including SSDI and SSI. SSDI is awarded to people with disabilities who have worked and paid into social security long enough to qualify. SSI is awarded to people with disabilities who have limited resources and income.
SSDI and SSI are both federal programs that are based on disability, but the biggest difference between these two is that with SSDI, work credits matter, while with SSI, resources are considered.
Key Differences in SSDI and SSI
Following are some key aspects of each program and how they differ from one another.
Although both SSDI and SSI are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), they are funded by two separate programs.
SSDI is paid through the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which is funded by payroll tax deductions from employee wages and their employers. Recipients of SSDI are considered to be “insured” due to the payments made through their employment. The benefits received from SSDI are closely tied to benefits received through social security retirement benefits.
SSI, on the other hand, is funded via general federal tax revenues.
Benefit Amount and Time of Coverage
The amount of benefits provided by SSDI and SSI varies greatly.
The SSA uses a formula to determine how much someone should receive via SSDI, and that formula does not take into account the current income of the individual. Instead, it looks at what they have paid into social security over the span of years they have worked. This amount can be reduced if the person is also receiving workers' compensation payments or any other public disability benefits. Payments received under SSDI are generally substantially higher than those received with SSI. SSDI benefits begin after six full months of disability. Recipients must wait six full months from the first full month after the date the SSA decides that the disability began.
With SSI, the income and resources of the individual matter a great deal. The SSA starts with what is called the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) and deducts your countable income. For 2022, the FBR, or the highest SSI rate, is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple. SSI begins either the first full month after the claim was made or the date the recipient was found eligible for SSI, whichever date is last.
People with qualifying disabilities and who satisfy the requirements of either SSDI or SSI can receive benefits. Family members can also qualify for social security disability benefits from the same claim, and this is true for both SSDI and SSI.
Family members who may be entitled to benefits include:
- Current spouses
- Former spouses
- Minor children
- Disabled adult children
Each family member may receive up to 50% of the amount the disabled person is receiving, but the total amount one family can receive off of a single claim is capped. Generally, that cap is set somewhere around 150% to 180% of the disability benefit amount.
Spouses must be a minimum of 62 unless they are caring for a minor child or child of the SSDI recipient who was disabled prior to the age of 22. A spouse may not receive benefits under an SSDI claim, however, if they are able to receive more under their own earnings record. A former spouse may be able to claim benefits as well if they were married to the SSDI recipient for at least 10 years, are 62 years old or older, are unmarried, and are not otherwise eligible for social security benefits.
Children must be single plus meet one of the following age requirements: (1) under the age of 18; (2) between the ages of 18 and 19 if they are a full-time high school student; or (3) disabled prior to 22 years of age.
It is important to keep in mind that only an overview is provided here. There are other qualifying and disqualifying factors that can make a difference. It is always important to speak to a social security benefits lawyer about your situation. Jung Disability and Injury Advocates is based in South Carolina. Call us today at (843) 576-4200 if you believe you qualify for social security disability benefits.
Other Benefits Available
Recipients of SSDI often need extensive medical care. The good news is that they automatically qualify for Medicare, including:
- Part A Hospital Insurance
- Part B Supplementary Medical Insurance
- Part C Medicare Advantage
- Part D Voluntary Prescription Drug Benefits
Persons receiving SSI generally qualify for Medicaid, which is a health insurance program that is funded jointly by the federal government and the state. Services and benefits vary depending on the state.
There are no state supplemental payments for recipients of SSDI. With SSI, it depends on the state as some offer what is called a “state supplement” for SSI recipients. The amounts and criteria to qualify vary from state to state.
It is possible for a person to receive SSDI and SSI benefits if they meet the criteria for both. This typically occurs when a person qualifies for SSDI but their payment is so small they also qualify for SSI.
If you cannot work due to a disability, you may qualify for social security disability benefits. It is important you get the full amount of the benefits. Too many times, however, people do not understand the process, the requirements, or which (if not both) types of benefits apply. As a result, their applications are denied. The denial can be disheartening, but you can appeal.
In any case, getting the benefits as soon as possible is critical. At Jung Disability and Injury Advocates, our disability benefits lawyer based in Charleston handles these cases in a comprehensive, thorough manner to get results. We have the resources and skills to help you get your benefits. Contact us either by filling out the online form or calling us at (843) 576-4200 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you.