The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Jun 13, 2017 by

The federal government passed the Social Security Act in 1935. This Act first served as a form of social insurance and was originally intended as retiring employees’ source of finance. Years after, it assumed the name Social Security Administration (SSA) and introduced two large federal programs aimed at providing financial assistance to Social Security members who get disabled or after they retire from work and to people with disabilities: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which SSA introduced in 1956, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which SSA created in 1974.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), specifically, was designed to provide cash benefits to Social Security members with total permanent disabilities and pensions to retired members aged 65 or above.

There are basic requirements that should be met in order for one to be eligible for disability or retirement benefits. These are:

  • Having worked in a job covered by Social Security or by being self-employed; and,
  • Having earned the required number of credits required by SSA. An employee can earn a maximum of four credits within a year (a table that shows the number of credits needed by an employee who gets disabled is available in the SSA website with address, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf. This table also shows the required number of years of work needed to be able to earn certain number of credits). These credits are earned through payment of Social Security taxes (employees’ pay slips usually identify SS tax payments as “FICA,” that is, Federal Insurance Contributions Act).

Disability, as defined by the SSA (at least for SSDI purposes), means:

  • A condition that will render a person unable to to perform the work that he/she did before being disabled;
  • The disability renders a person unable to perform any other type of work; and,
  • The disability may either last for at least a year or result in death.

Once an employee starts receiving the cash benefits, payment of benefit will only stop if:

  • He/She works at a level that the SSA considers as “substantial”;
  • If the SSA decides that his/her medical condition has improved to the point that he/she is no longer disabled; or,
  • If he/she turns 65 – if this is the case, recipient of the disability benefit will continue receiving the same amount of payment, only this time, it will be called “pension,” and no longer disability benefit.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or State Supplementary Payment (SSP), on the other hand,  is designed to provide cash benefits to the aged, the blind, and the disabled who are with little or without income; this cash benefit should help provide for its recipients’ basic needs, which include food, clothing, and shelter. Specifically, SSI is designed for:

  • Disabled adults who have limited income and resources;
  • Disabled children who are younger than age 18 and who have limited income and resources; and,
  • People 65 years old or older who are without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR). (The FBR represents both the SSI income limit and the maximum monthly dollar amount paid by the SSI program.)

As pointed out in the Hankey Law Office, P.C. website, Social Security Disability benefits is a reliable source of income that makes a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. People should find out if they are eligible to the financial assistance known as Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. A highly-competent SSDI/SSI lawyer may be able to help in this endeavor, as well as help prepare and file all necessary documents and forms in case of eligibility.

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