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

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two large programs of the U.S. Federal government that are aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities. SSDI was created by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956, while SSI was created in 1974.

The SSDI pays disability benefits to qualified SS insured members who are below the age of 65 and who are also totally disabled. To qualify for payment, a member must meet the following requirements:

  • Had worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes while employed (these taxes are automatically deducted from employees’ monthly take home pay on a monthly basis);
  • Has earned the number of credits required by the SSA (employees earn four credits annually); and,
  • Is suffering from total disability

Total disability or disability, as defined by the SSA, means:

  • Inability to perform previous work, as well as any other work, due to the medical condition;
  • The disability has either lasted for a year or is likely to last for a year or more; and,
  • The disability can result in death.

A list medical conditions that are severe enough has been drawn up by the SSA; finding one’s health problem in this list would automatically include him/her in the roster of disabled insured SS members. Not finding one’s health condition in the list, however, will require an evaluation by Social Security in order to determine if the health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program, on the other hand, provides non-taxable financial assistance to Americans, who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government.

Since SSI funding comes from the U.S. Treasury general funds (rather than the SS taxes paid monthly by insured SS members), neither SS credits nor previous employment is, therefore, required to qualify into the program.

The SSI program aims to help provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. These basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. In a number of states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

An article posted at www.chrismayolaw.com/practice-areas/social-security-disability/, states that for millions of Americans who live with a disabling physical or mental condition, it can be extraordinarily difficult to support themselves on their own. This is particularly true when their disability makes them unable to work. Fortunately, the Social Security disability program provides benefits to those who suffer from disabilities, helping disabled individuals to get the support they need to live their lives on their own.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides financial support to those have become disabled by an injury or illness, and have met the required work credits. Additionally, children and spouses of deceased workers are often able to get disability benefits through this program.

SSI benefits, on the other hand, are available to those living on low incomes who are aged, blind, or suffer from a disability, with sometimes increased benefits for families to help provide a level of support that more accurately matches their needs.