SOCIAL SECURITY

What's the difference between Social Security SSI and SSDI?

Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance are two of the most popular SSA programmes. Here's who's eligible and how you can apply.

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What's the difference between Social Security SSI and SSDI?

Social Security provides payments for over 63 million beneficiaries and currently around one in five Americans receive a Social Security benefit of some kind. The far-reaching programme has been hailed as the most successful anti-poverty implement in US history, but there is still some confusion about it is structured.

Two of the most common programmes from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These initiatives provide financial assistance for senior citizens and those living with disabilities.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

SSI is designed to provide basic financial assistance for older adults and people with disabilities who have very limited income. The programme administrated by the SSA is typically supplemented by support programmes from the state which boost the amount of offer.

Eligibility for the programme is based solely on age/disability and limited income and resources.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

To qualify for the SSDI individuals must be registered as disabled in some way, and must also satisfy certain work history requirements. However, bear in mind that family members (spouse or parent) can also be used to satisfy the requirements.

Those eligible to receive SSDI payments will automatically qualify for Medicare coverage after 24 months, and claimants with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) will qualify immediately.

Can you receive both SSI and SSDI?

Yes – it is possible to qualify and receive payments from both programmes, provided you satisfy their respective criteria. However it should be noted that recipients of SSI are required to report any changes to their living arrangements or income. To clarify your eligibility for the programmes you can contact the SSA, toll-free on 1-800-772-12.

If you think you are eligible for either the SSI or SSDI, you can contact the SSA on 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), between 7am and 7pm, Monday through Friday.

You may apply for SSDI benefits online, using the SSA’s dedicated online portal. There is an online portal for the SSI programme, but it is only available for adults with a disability. Alternatively, you can apply for SSI payments by visiting your local Social Security office.

Before starting the process, claimants should be aware that the average wait time for an SSI or SSDI application to be approved is between three and five months and may currently be longer due to pandemic disruption. Claimants with severe disability can apply for an expedited review of their application by using the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) classification.