There are a number of federal government benefits programs designed and intended to help those impairments so severe that they cannot work or engage in the typical activities of daily living. However these programs are all too often painted in broad strokes and the nuances and differences between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can become lost. Understanding the purposes and differences between these programs can help disabled and injured individuals take account of all potential resources they may have while coping with or recovering from their disability.
For more than 20 years, Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak has fought on behalf of hard-working northwest Arkansans. Ken understands that you didn’t choose to stop working at the trade or occupation, but rather that an impairment, disability, or illness became so severe that you had no other option. Ken is proud to work with and fight for the honest, dedicated people of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Bella Vista, and all of northwest Arkansas.
What are the Purposes of SSI and SSDI?
While the program’s abbreviations are rather similar, they were established for different purposes. While SSDI is intended to serve as an insurance program for workers, the SSI program is intended to provide resources to individuals with little income and few resources who would otherwise not qualify for SSDI.
Although the programs are both administered by the Social Security Administration, there are essential differences in how the programs are funded. SSI is funded through general taxes. In most states, an SSI award will also make the applicant eligible for Medicaid. By contrast, SSDI is funded through payroll taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed individuals.
What are the Different Eligibility Requirements?
Both SSDI and SSI require the applicant to be disabled or to be blind and set limits on the amount of income the applicant scan have. This limit is known as substantial gainful income or SGA. The monthly SGA limits for disabled non-blind applicants is $1090 in 2015. While a limit of $1820 applies from legally blind individuals applying for SSDI, it does not apply to SSI.
The remainder of the qualifications for a benefits award diverge. For SSDI, there several requirements that are not found in the SSI program. First, because SSDI is an insurance program applicants must have a sufficient amount of work credits to qualify. The work credit requirement is actually dual-pronged. That is there is both an overall work requirement and a recent work requirement. The total number of work credits needed is dependent on the worker’s age when he or she became disabled. Additionally, at least half of the work credits you have earned must have been within the past ten years.
By contrast the SSI program does not have any work credit requirements. The program is strictly need-based and it is subject to a means test to ensure that only those with limited income and resources can qualify. To qualify for SSI benefits and individual must have less than $2,000 in resources or assets and limited income.
How is Disability Defined under Each Program?’
Both SSDI and SSI require an individual to have a single impairment that is so severe that it meets or equals a listed condition. Severe impairments are those impairments that cause more than slight limitations to one’s daily life. To qualify for on the basis of a listing, one must present objective medical evidence that meets or equals the criteria set forth in the SSA’s Blue Book. Alternatively, those with a single impairment or multiple impairments are entitled to have the cumulative limiting effects of all impairments considered. If there is no past work or alternate work that the person can perform with his or her disabilities, he or she will qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits.
Rely on our Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Experience
The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak is dedicated to fighting for hard-working and dedicated people who have been forced to stop work due to an injury, illness, or other impairment. Ken can help you gather objective medical evidence and can present that documentation in a clear and persuasive manner. To schedule a free legal consultation, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.