Living with a disability can be financially challenging, especially when your medical condition prevents you from working. You may have heard that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can help people like you. However, there are key differences between these two programs.
SSI versus SSD benefits
To be eligible for SSI, you must be age 65 or older, blind or disabled at any age. In addition, you must have nominal or no income and resources. It does not matter whether you have worked in the past or not.
SSD benefits are not subject to the income limitations SSI benefits are bound to. To qualify for SSD benefits you must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, and you must have enough work credits from your former job(s).
If you are awarded SSI, your benefits will start either the first full month following the date you filed for benefits or the date you were determined to qualify for SSI, whichever is later.
If you are awarded SSD benefits, your benefits will start six months after your disability start date as determined by the SSA.
The amount of benefits awarded also differs between SSI and SSD. The maximum monthly benefits received through SSI in 2022 is $841 for a single person or $1,261 for a married couple. In 2022, the maximum monthly benefits received through SSD based on work history is $3,345.
Finally, while both SSI and SSD qualify you for government health insurance, there are differences between what is offered. If you qualify for SSI, you also automatically qualify for Medicaid. If you qualify for SSD benefits, you will qualify for Medicare after a two-year waiting period following the date you started receiving benefits.
Seek the benefits you are entitled to
As this shows, while you may be entitled to benefits due to your disability, there are major differences between SSI and SSD benefits. Knowing what to apply for and how to apply can be challenging, and the process of receiving benefits can take many months and may necessitate appeals. Thus, it can help to work with a Social Security Disability attorney to ensure the process runs smoothly.