SSI and SSDI: Are Requirements the Same For Both?


Most people have no idea that there is a difference between SSI and SSDI. There’s nothing wrong this. Until you have to apply for one program or the other, why would you know how they work? We usually don’t hear from a client until their application for SSI or SSDI benefits are denied. While our Greenville disability lawyers know the ins and outs of both federal programs, that doesn’t mean all attorneys do. Unless a person specializes in this type of law, they aren’t comfortable discussing the subject.

The truth is that there are several important differences between SSI and SSDI. SSI, which stands for supplemental security income, is meant for low-income people who are unable to work. Most SSI recipients have never worked a steady job. If they did, they didn’t earn enough to help them qualify for SSDI. In order to qualify for SSI benefits, a person must pass a certain means-test. SSDI, on the other hand, offers benefits to people who did work for most of their lives. You actually pay into this fund so that, when the time comes that you can no longer work, there are benefits there for you. SSI and SSDI do have many different requirements.

Here, we’ll discuss the various differences between SSI and SSDI. We will touch on how a person qualifies for each program. We will also explain who the two programs are meant to help. If your application for either SSI or SSDI benefits was denied, it’s time to give us a call. You can schedule your free, initial consultation with one of our social security lawyers in Greenville right over the phone.

You Must Have Contributed to SSDI While You Were Working

In order to collect SSDI benefit, your Greenville disability lawyer must show that you earned a certain number of credits. These credits are earned when you work a certain period of time and earn a certain level of income. For example, a person who works but is under the age of 24 has only earned 6 SSDI credits. By the time they have reached 31, they should have earned approximately 12 credits. And, finally, once a person has been working for more than 31 years, they will have earned 20 or more SSDI credits.

These credits represent the monies a person has paid into the SSDI pool. SSDI, which stands for social security disability insurance, works kind of like unemployment. It is referred to as insurance that you pay into throughout your lifetime. If you happen to become totally disabled for a year or longer, then you apply for SSDI benefits. Whether or not your application is approved is not something we can comment on. The Social Security Administration makes the rules and decides whose claim will be approved and whose will be denied.

You Can Collect SSI Without Any Work Credits

One of the major differences between SSDI and SSI is that you don’t need to earn any income credits to collect SSI. This program is meant for low-income individuals. In order to qualify for SSI, you must demonstrate that you have less than $2,000 in assets. You must also show that you have little to no income. These requirements are in addition to the basic requirement of both SSDI and SSI – that you are disabled and cannot work for at least one year.

Both Programs Require You to Be Disabled and Unable to Work

Regardless of which program you are applying to, your Greenville disability lawyer must show that you cannot work. You must have a doctor’s certification stating that you are unable to work due to a debilitating medical condition. You must have either already missed a year from work or be able to prove that your condition will last for at least one year. If you’re unable to do that, there is a good chance your claim will be denied. You can always reapply later, with the assistance of your social security lawyer in Greenville. If you’re able to show that you have indeed missed a full year from work, your claim may be approved retroactively.

SSI Requires That You Have Little if Any in the Way of Income and Assets

One of the biggest requirements of SSI is that you have no assets and little to no income. If the SSA finds out that you are earning a living wage, there is no reason for them to approve your claim. The same is true if you have assets. The way the government sees it, you can sell your assets and use the proceeds to pay your living expenses. Even after you’ve been approved for SSI benefits, you’ll still have follow-up reviews every year to determine if your situation has significantly changed.

Unlike SSI, people who apply for SSDI don’t have to prove that they have no assets. They must show that they are disabled and unable to work. They must also be able to show that they meet the earned credits as required for SSDI benefits.

How Can a Greenville Disability Lawyer Help with SSI and SSDI?

If you’ve been denied disability in South Carolina, don’t feel too terrible. Close to 70% of all initial applications for disability are denied. One of the reasons for this is that, once awarded, these benefits tend to be permanent. The last thing the government wants to do is pay benefits out for years to somebody who doesn’t deserve them. Our Greenville disability lawyers meet with clients every week who are looking to appeal their application for SSI or SSDI. Many of them aren’t even sure which type of benefit they’re supposed to apply for.

Our social security lawyers in Greenville have decades of combined experience handling matters such as this. Not only do our associates understand the differences between SSI and SSDI, but they know the requirements of both programs. They are also very familiar with the income and asset limitations associated with SSI and SSDI. They can review your application, as well as your denial letter, and figure out what the problem is. If there is enough support to warrant it, your Greenville disability lawyer will put together an appeal on your behalf.

Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to certain benefits. While both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) are both federal programs, they have very different requirements. Sit down with one of our associates and figure out how best to proceed.