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  • Christopher Le

What is SSI Disability?

What is SSI Disability ? And How Do I Qualify For It?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are both federal SSA programs that provide monthly cash benefits to people who meet SSA's definition of "disabled." So under both the SSI and the SSDI program, you have to prove that either your mental or physical impairments meets the criteria of disability. However, both programs have vastly different requirements aside from that. Here are the 3 biggest differences between them.

SSI Is a Means-Test Program and SSDI Is an Entitlement Program

SSI is designed to meet the most BASIC needs of the elderly, blind or disabled individuals who would otherwise have a hard time paying for their own food and shelter. Key term is BASIC NEEDS. This means, the SSI program has a very strict set of financial requirements, hence the name mean-test program. You have to meet the income and asset requirements in order to be eligible for SSI. If you own many assets or maybe your spouse is working and earning too much income, this could significantly affect your ability to receive SSI even if youre medically disabled.

On the other end, SSDI, is an entitlement program that is available to people who have paid into the Social Security system for at least ten years, regardless of his current income and assets. Under this program, you can have unlimited assets and still qualify for SSDI because it is based on the years you worked and paid into the system. It does not follow the same mean-test as SSI has.

SSI Beneficiaries Receive Medicaid, SSDI Beneficiaries Receive Medicare

A person who receives SSI disability will automatically qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint state and federal health care program that provides comprehensive coverage for its beneficiaries.

SSDI, on the other hand, has a waiting period of 2 years. This means that SSDI beneficiaries are eligible to receive Medicare 2years after they are deemed entitled to SSDI benefits. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers routine hospital services and most primary medical care. Its not as comprehensive as Medicaid, and many Medicare beneficiaries purchase whats called "Medigap" policies to fill in the gaps in their primary Medicare coverage.

The Financial Benefits Between SSI and SSDI Are Very Different

Lastly the amount of monthly benefits you can expect to receive will be different between SSI disability and SSDI. In 2022, the federal SSI payment standard will be $841 per month for an individual, while the average SSDI payment will be $1,358 a month. Since SSDI is based on the beneficiary's earnings record, some SSDI recipients can receive the max of $3345 per month. Another thing to keep in mind is that SSI benefits may be reduced depending on other income that is coming into the household. So the max of $841 per month in SSI can be reduced if your spouse earns income. This is different than SSDI because if you are receiving SSDI, your monthly amount will remain the same regardless of how much your spouse makes in income.

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