What is the difference between Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income?

Social Security Disability Insurance (also referred to as SSDI, DIB. or Title II) is available to people who have worked and paid in enough quarters of coverage to be fully and currently insured. It is more of an insurance type program, and is not a welfare program. A quarter of coverage is earned when a certain amount of earned income is reported. The amount needed for a quarter of coverage changes each year. The total number of quarters needed depends on your age.

If someone is disabled and fully and currently insured, there is no limitation on the assets he or she can own. An individual can be a millionaire and still get SSDI. Earned income and workers' compensation benefits may affect the amount of monthly benefits, but other unearned income from such sources as interest, dividends and return on investments should not result in a reduction of benefits. There are also specific rules and work incentives establishing how much a person can earn, and when earnings will result in termination of benefits.

Benefits are not paid for the first five full months of eligibility. If all other factors of eligibility are met, benefits can be paid for twelve months prior to the date of the application.

Supplemental Security Income (also referred to as SSI or Title XVI) does not have the same quarters of coverage requirement as SSDI, SSI is more of a welfare type program. You can get SSI if you never worked a day in your life, but there are stringent asset and income limits for eligibility for SSI. You must have nonexempt assets worth less than $2.000.00. There are extensive rules on which assets are counted and which assets are exempt. You can be disqualified for up to three years for transfers of assets for less than fair market value.

In addition, other income may affect the amount of your benefits, and could make you ineligible. The maximum amount of the monthly SSI amount payable changes each year. The maximum monthly amount payable in 2007 is $623.00. That amount would be reduced if you have other non-excluded income. The first $20 of unearned income is excluded. The remainder will result in a dollar for dollar reduction in SSI benefits. There is a budgeting process that applies to earned income which results in exclusion of a flat deduction and then a certain amount for dependents. After that, each $2 of income results in a $1 deduction in monthly benefits. Of course, working could also affect the issue of whether or not you are disabled.

There is no waiting period for SSI benefits. They begin the first month after the application (if and when you are found disabled), but there are no retroactive benefits paid for the period prior to that month.

Disability standard. The definition of disability is the same for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income.

We are here to help.

If you are disabled and unable to do the work you once did, call Richard A. Culbertson at (407) 894-0888 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Disclaimer: The following is general information only. The Social Security Act and related regulations, rulings and case law should be used or cited as authority for the Social Security disability programs.


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