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Supplemental Security Income

The difference between SSI vs. SSDI

The difference between SSI vs. SSDI

The Social Security Administration distributes disability benefits under two programs; the two federal assistance programs include Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSDI). Although both programs provide finical assistance and have the same process, the eligibility requirements are very different. This article will hopefully describe the difference between ssi vs. ssdi  to help navigate through the application process.

The main difference between Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSDI) is that SSDI requires a certain amount of work credits accrued over a specific span of time. Whereas SSI can accommodate those with low-income, who have never worked or who have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. Many people fail to differentiate between SSI and SSDI because both programs fall under the Social Security Administration. One should know while both programs are managed by the same governmental administration, there are many differences that should be understood.

What is SSI?

SSI is an income supplement program that is funded by general state taxes. It is intended to provide minimal financial relief to those with very limited income and resources, specifically older adults (65+) and any persons living with disabilities. This program only covers basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. You must have less than $2,000 in total assets to apply. There is no specific age requirement for those qualifying for SSI benefits, but it is much more difficult for younger adults to obtain and there are many other preconditions you must meet.

What is SSDI?

Although SSDI is also a supplement income program, SSDI provides more substantial assistance to those with qualifying previous work experience that have already paid into Social Security. Benefits are generally only granted to those unable to work or excepted to be unable to work for one year or more.

Social Security Disability

SSDI assistance is more substantial and benefits begin during the sixth full month of disability (the exact date of disability is determined by SSA) whereas SSI benefits begin one month after filing.  

To apply for either program you must follow these steps:

  • Prepare your claim: Gather all necessary supporting evidence to provide legitimacy to your claim; this includes medical records, paid taxes, etc.
  • Fill out the proper paperwork: We can ensure you perform this step correctly to minimize the chance of a denied claim.
  • Wait and Follow-Up: The process for getting a decision on your claim can take 3-6 months, possibly longer.
  • Receive your decision: You will be informed via mail whether your claim is accepted or denied, and how to appeal if you wish.
  • Appeal your claim: We can help you submit your case for reconsideration, including requesting a disability hearing and several other steps.

Talk to Our Office Now

Many claims are initially denied and in this scenario, one of our experienced attorneys can help. In many cases, it can be difficult to get a direct and timely response and the appeal process can be lengthy. At Harbison & Kavanagh, our Richmond Social Security Disability attorneys know that your best opportunity at expediting your claim is to file your appeal immediately. With over four decades of combined experience, our firm is here to help you get your life back on track. To get a better idea of your options, call or contact Harbison & Kavanagh and schedule your free social security consultation.

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