For those who are disabled and unable to work, the federal government has two different programs in place to provide financial help. One of them, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is designed for those who have been working, but are now unable to do so due to illness or injury of some sort. The other program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another disability program, but this one is designed specifically for people with limited financial income and assets.
SSDI vs. SSI/
As stated above, both of these programs are disability-related. However, qualifying for each program is different. Qualifying for SSDI is basically a matter of medical records. By proving you are injured or disabled for the long-term (longer than a year), and providing medical records that show the extent of your disability and your inability work, you can qualify for benefits to help offset the loss of income. In order to qualify, you must have worked and paid into the SSA system long enough to earn work credits.
SSI, however, is much more needs-based. While many who qualify for SSI suffer from congenital disabilities, it is really about financial need. You do not have to have worked before to earn SSI benefits, but you do have to show financial hardship. The qualification process is more difficult, and involves listing your income and all of your available assets, including such things as loans, investments, real estate, etc.
With all that being said, it is actually possible to qualify for both of these benefits. This is called “concurrent benefits.” Typically, this happens when you first qualify for SSDI benefits as a result of being disabled and no longer able to work. The total amount of monthly SSDI benefits you receive is based on your income before your injury, the amount of work credits you have built up, and the amount you have paid into the system. If you have not worked at a very high-paying job, or have not built up a long history of work, then it’s possible you might qualify for SSDI payments, but get only a modest amount of money per month.
Currently, most states set their SSI unearned income level at right around $700 per month. If your SSDI payments are less than this, then you might also be able to claim low financial assets and income, and qualify for SSI payments as well.
Of course, this is just a rough outline of these two programs, and each individual’s situation differs. If you would like to know more about how concurrent benefits could work for you or your situation, please contact us today!