Experienced Disability Lawyers

SSDI and SSI: What’s the difference?

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Supplemental Security Income

The Social Security Administration is a sprawling federal government agency that oversees several programs that provide benefits to millions of Americans. Most workers are familiar with the largest of these programs provides benefits to retired workers. This program can be a real lifeline to Americans in their later years. Two other programs Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, can help people who are unable to keep working until they reach retirement age. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the differences between them, and how they can help people.

Background: retirement benefits

First, let’s briefly discuss Social Security retirement benefits. Most workers pay into this system over the course of their careers through withholding that comes out of their paychecks. Once they reach retirement age, they become eligible for the benefits, which come in the form of regular payments. If you are receiving these benefits, the dollar amount of your payments is based on how much you paid into the system during your working years.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Unfortunately, many American workers are unable to keep working until they reach retirement age because they become disabled. This may be due to injury, illness or some condition that has progressed to a point that makes it impossible for them to continue working. These people are still too young to collect retirement benefits, but need some kind of income to keep up with their expenses. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be able to help.

As with retirement benefits, workers pay into the SSDI system through withholding in their paychecks. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, a worker must show that they have a qualifying illness, injury or condition. They must also show that they have earned a sufficient number of work credits, which is based on how long they have worked. The average monthly payment in 2022 is $1,223.

Supplemental Security Income

The work credit requirement means that some Americans are left ineligible for SSDI benefits even if they do have an illness, injury or condition that makes them unable to work for a living. Some of these people became injured disabled when they were too young to have earned enough work credits. Others have lifelong conditions that have always prevented them from working and earning a living.

For Americans who qualify, the Supplemental Security Income system can be a lifesaver. However, these benefits are small. The average monthly payment this year is $624.

In some cases, people can collect SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time.

The eligibility requirements for these programs are quite strict, and most applications are rejected the first time around. Applicants can improve their chances greatly by seeking out the help of an attorney with experience.