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What Is The Difference Between Supplemental Security Income And Social Security Disability Benefits?

The Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability programs have many similarities, but there are several key differences between the two. However, not many people truly understand what distinguishes one from the other. While both programs provide monthly benefits to people with disabilities or other conditions, it’s important to understand how each program works and what separates them.  Successfully applying for either program requires an understanding of how they both work. Understanding the differences can also help you understand your rights in these situations.

The Basics Of Supplemental Security Income

SSI provides monthly payments to adults 65 or older, and people with disabilities who have little or no income or other resources. Both adults and children can be eligible for the Supplemental Security Income program, and there is no means test or past employment eligibility requirement. Payment amounts depend on your income, living situation and assets, among other factors.

In order to qualify, people must report their financial situation and income, as well as changes to resources and living situation, every month. The Social Security Administration designates SSI as a “last resort” source of assistance. The income regulations regarding who can qualify for this program are strict.

The Basics Of Social Security Disability

SSD provides benefits to people who are no longer able to work due to a medical disability. There are different requirements to be eligible for SSD benefits and it is only available to people who have been employed for a certain number of years. Payment amounts are based on the applicant’s previous average earnings.

In order to qualify, people must meet work-related requirements, such as proof that they can no longer work, and/or do the work they previously did, due to a medical condition. There are also certain age requirements that need to be evaluated and met. Our Whittier disability law attorneys can help you to understand all of the options that may be available to you.

What Are The Differences Between SSI And SSD?

Perhaps the most important difference between the two programs is how you qualify. SSI is safety net for those who qualify. Because SSI is funded through general taxes, people do not have to have been previously employed in order to qualify for these benefits. SSDI is a program that only previously employed people can qualify for as it is funded through Social Security taxes tied to employment.

SSI sends monthly income to people who need it, while SSD works more like insurance, that supplements past income if someone becomes unable to continue to work.

A few other differences between the two programs are as follows:

  • SSI does not factor in your work history at all
  • Additional income and assets can lower your SSI benefits and eligibility for the program
  • You can receive SSI payments as soon as a month after application and meeting the eligibility requirements
  • SSD has a typical five-month waiting period
  • SSD is paid for through Social Security taxes
  • SSD applicants are allowed to own stocks and have other financial resources, your benefits are not affected by other assets you own

While both programs are designed to help those who need a monthly income, the key differences are important to note. The main separator is how you qualify for the program but understanding some of the other differentiators is important when evaluating your needs and situation.

Which One Fits My Situation?

If you’re seeking either SSI or SSD benefits, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations associated with these programs, the application process and the eligibility requirements for both. An experienced Social Security attorney can walk you through this process and help make sure all requirements are met. We can also help you make sure you understand your rights regarding these programs, and make sure they are being upheld and fulfilled. If you are having trouble deciding between or evaluating the two programs, an attorney can also help you determine which program you qualify for and which will suit your needs best based on your situation.

Reach Out To Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyers In Whittier

You can contact one of our attorneys for help at Leland Law by calling our disability law firm in Whittier, California at 562-219-4156 and, we’ll guide you through the entire process.