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Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Difference Between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

As an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability (SSDI) and serves residents in the Stockbridge and greater Henry County, Georgia area, I am often asked to explain the difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  

SSI and SSDI programs are both overseen by the Social Security Agency and both offer monthly income for disabled individuals.  Nevertheless, both are completely different programs with different eligibility requirements.  Namely, SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have not met the eligibility requirements of paying into the Social Security system through previous employment.  To qualify for SSDI, individuals need to have a previous employment history which paid Social Security taxes. 

Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability (SSDI)

To be eligible for SSDI, applicants must have paid into the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes.  To meet SSDI requirements, applicants must be younger than 65 and show evidence of a certain number of "work credits."   Work credits are calculated by meeting a minimal amount of income on a quarterly basis (it does not matter whether the income was paid incrementally or in one lump sum during the quarter, or if there are short gaps between employment).  

The minimum amount of work credits necessary to meet SSDI eligibility requirements are based on the applicants’ age.  For example, if you are over age 31, you must have earned 20 “work credits” to qualify, meaning you must have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years (1 quarter of work = 1 credit; 4 credits of work per year x 5 years = 20 work credits).      

Only adults over the age of 18 can receive the SSDI disability benefits, however a disabled person's spouse and children dependents are eligible to receive partial benefits, which are called “auxiliary benefits.”  

Eligibility Requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI does not have any eligibility requirements associated with previous work history.  SSI is a need-based program that provides monthly income to people who are blind, elderly or disabled.  True to the name, SSI may simply provide incremental income for those who already receive a small income from a different source.  Under SSI, free access to food or shelter may be counted as income and will be taken into consideration when calculating benefits. 

For more information about SSDI, contact experienced attorney Casey Crumbley at ccrumbley@smithwelchlaw.com or call him at (770) 389 4864 for a consultation.  Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and our community. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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