Is Supplemental Security Income the same as disability?

When two different terms sound somewhat alike, it may be difficult to keep the two terms separate in your mind. If a time ever comes when you must apply for disability benefits, you may encounter many terms that sound similar to one another. Two of these terms include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Although they may sound and look alike to a degree, these are two totally separate terms representing different government programs.

In California, SSDI is available to disabled individuals who have paid into the program through taxes taken out of their work pay. If you have paid enough into this program and have a qualifying and documented permanent or temporary disability, you may be eligible for SSDI.

SSI is similar to SSDI, but there are important differences that separate the two programs. SSI may be an option for disabled individuals that have not paid enough through taxes to qualify for SSDI. Because this program centers on the applicant's financial need instead of his or her work history, the process of filing for benefits is complicated.

As you might expect, the government is not prepared to hand out SSI to everyone who simply claims they have the need. Instead, applicants must provide evidence and documentation proving that they qualify for the program. For example, applicants must show that they have little savings and do not have valuable property that they could sell off to support themselves.

Because individuals must prove their eligibility, many choose to seek counsel from a qualified legal representative. Doing so can not only aid you in meeting the requirements for SSI or SSDI, it can help you avoid making mistakes that could result in a claim denial or a delay in benefits.

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