When learning about Social Security Disability benefit programs, many people do not know where to start. One of the first things you may notice is that there are two separate programs, known as Social Security Disability Insurance, often called SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

While both of these benefits are meant to help people who have been born with or developed a disabling health condition that affects their ability to work, there are fundamental differences between the two. Knowing more about each program can help you as you navigate through your own application process, and give you a better understanding of your available benefits.

SSDI and SSI: What’s the Difference?

While both are considered Social Security disability programs, SSDI and SSI each offer different benefits to different people. One of the primary differences is who the program is design to benefit. SSI is a need-based benefit that calculated based on a person’s income and assets. To qualify, the applicant must meet strict income and asset requirements; he or she must also be age 65 or older, blind, or otherwise disabled.

SSDI is available to those who have developed a total disability that will affect their ability to work for at least 12 months. Eligibility for SSDI benefits is based on the applicant’s work history; an applicant must have earned a set amount of work credits (based on both total work history and recent work history) in order to be eligible.

Both programs offer recipients a monthly payment and medical coverage. SSDI recipients receive a monthly payment based on the average amount that they earned prior to becoming disabled; SSDI recipients are also eligible for Medicare after two years of receiving benefits. Those receiving SSI receive a monthly payment based on the current federal schedule, but are automatically eligible for Medicaid coverage. Occasionally, those receiving SSDI may also be eligible for SSI if their monthly SSDI payments places them below the federal schedule.

If you have questions about Social Security disability programs, the attorneys at Lunn & Forro are happy to help. Just call our office today to schedule a free consultation, and learn about the benefits that you may be able to receive!