When To Apply for Social Security Disability or SSI


Both SSI and SSDI disability programs offer cash benefits for disabled individuals, but the financial eligibility requirements are very different.

The main difference between Social Security Disability (SSD, or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the fact that SSD is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSD.

While many people don’t distinguish between SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), they are two completely different governmental programs. While both programs are overseen and managed by the Social Security Administration, and medical eligibility for disability is determined in the same manner for both programs, there are distinct differences between the two.

What Is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is a program that is strictly need-based, according to income and assets, and is funded by general fund taxes (not from the Social Security trust fund). SSI is called a “means-tested program,” meaning it has nothing to do with work history, but strictly with financial need. To meet the SSI income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income.
Disabled people who are eligible under the income requirements for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid in the state they reside in. Most people who qualify for SSI will also qualify for food stamps, and the amount an eligible person will receive is dependent on where they live and the amount of regular, monthly income they have. SSI benefits will begin on the first of the month when you first submit your application.
Learn more about the SSI program and SSI benefits.

What Is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through payroll taxes. SSDI recipients are considered “insured” because they have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes. SSDI candidates must be younger than 65 and have earned a certain number of “work credits.” (To learn more, see our article on SSDI and work credits.) After receiving SSDI for two years, a disabled person will become eligible for Medicare.
Under SSDI, a disabled person’s spouse and children dependents are eligible to receive partial dependent benefits, called auxiliary benefits. However, only adults over the age of 18 can receive the SSDI disability benefit.

There is a five-month waiting period for benefits, meaning that the SSA won’t pay you benefits for the first five months after you become disabled. The amount of the monthly benefit after the waiting period is over depends on your earnings record, much like the Social Security retirement benefit.

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We're Somerset Disability

The Social Security Disability Advocates

Somerset Disability is the national social security advocacy firm with local presence.  Our experience helping good people navigate the bureaucracy of the Federal Government.  The Social Security Administration or SSA is a government program that begins at birth, registering your birth record. SSA is there when you get your first job and receive a Social Security Card that is you government ID and allows you to pay taxes and into social security for retirement benefits.Social Security Administration - Card The SSA also is there for you when you become disabled and they are there for you as a safety-net.

Should you ever become disabled and require the help and assistance of the SSA, be warned - claiming social security benefits is typically a long and drawn out process of applications, hearings, appeals and in the most difficult cases you will fight your case at the Federal courts.

At Somerset Disability we are here for you every step of the way.  From your first call to our Social Security Intake Center, we will help you with a free no obligation assessment of your case.  Our intake agents are experts in assessing your details and if your have a claimable disabling medical condition they will start the paperwork for you and we can start working on your case.

Somerset Disability LLC is headquartered in Atlanta north with a caring team of attorneys, case managers, specialist ssa claim agents and paralegals in all 50 states.   Call us today and experience the southern hospitality that has made Georgia famous. At Somerset we will treat your social security disability claim with experience and an ongoing commitment to constant communications, and when you need an update on your case, remember we are just a call away.

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