March 4, 2010

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefit Programs

Signature 2.JPGIndianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis often finds his clients are confused by the difference between the two disability programs offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These two programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI and SSI programs are administered by the SSA, both programs will pay a monthly benefit to qualifying disabled persons, and both programs follow the same procedures when determining if someone is disabled.

Although SSDI and SSI have some similarities, they are quite different programs. It is important to understand the difference in these two programs when applying for disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or also commonly known as Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is the disability program that is funded by the Social Security taxes that are paid by employers, workers and people who are self-employed. This program requires the claimant to have earned the appropriate credits which is based on the taxable work of the disability claimant. This means that the claimant must have paid into this program through payroll taxes from previous work. This program was designed to assist those individual workers that paid into the program that become disabled and are unable to work until retirement age so they basically receive those benefits early.

Financial eligibility for SSDI is based solely on the F.I.C.A. Social Security (F.I.C.A.) payroll taxes the claimant paid through employment. This program is not based on your current wealth situation. To be eligible for SSDI, you must have paid F.I.C.A. taxes in 20 out of the last 40 calendar quarters (essentially five out of the last ten years). If you are under age 31, that number is reduced. If you are over age 42, the minimum number of quarters increases approximately one quarter for each year over age 42. So, as long as you can meet the payroll tax payment requirement, you may receive SSDI benefits if you become totally disabled regardless of what other income or wealth you may have. Monthly benefits are determined by the amount of F.I.C.A. taxes the disability claimant paid into the program over the years. The SSA attempts to estimate the payment amount that the claimant would have put into the program if they worked until retirement age. Monthly payment amounts may vary from person to person. Benefit payments begin 5 months after the “onset date” of the disability determined by the SSA.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program funded through general revenues. This program is designed to assist disabled adults and children that have a financial need due to their inability to work because of their disability. Opposite of SSDI, the SSI benefits program does look at the claimant’s assets, resources, and income. Claimants must have limited income, resources and assets to qualify for this program. Monthly payments are determined by the amount of income the claimant earns each month. If a claimant is found to be disabled, the monthly payments will begin on the 1st day of the month the claimant filed for disability benefits.

Attorney Scott Lewis often recommends to his Indiana disability clients to apply for both programs when submitting their initial application for disability. Often times, claimants are not sure what program that they qualify for so it is important not to “miss the boat” when you may just qualify for one of these programs. Remember, if you apply to one of the programs but not the other, the SSA will not evaluate your claim for the opposite program. The SSA will only review your claim for what you are applying for.  So, as recommended by Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis, take the time to complete both applications.

At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Attorney at Law, LLC, Scott Lewis offers a free consultation to those individuals seeking Social Security disability benefits. Call Indiana Disability Appeals Lawyer Scott Lewis at (317) 423-8888 for your free consultation.

Filed under:Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
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