What is the Difference Between Social Security and SSI?

Although both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and involve supplemental income, these programs are very different. The leading difference between SSDI and SSI is that Social Security is available for those who have accumulated an adequate number of “work credits” based on age and number of immediate years working, while SSI is solely a need-based program available to low-income individuals who have either not attained a sufficient amount of work credits for SSDI or have never worked. 

As Social Security Disability attorneys and long-term disability attorneys in Philadelphia, PA, we at Rosen Moss Snyder LLP are experienced legal representatives who are knowledgeable about Social Security and the differences between the various programs the SSA offers. Read below to learn more about SSDI and SSI, and the benefits of bringing on a Social Security Disability attorney should you or a loved one experience a disability. 

The Supplemental Security Income Program

As we mentioned above, SSI is a need-based program. It is dependant on income and assets and is funded, not by the Social Security trust fund, but general fund taxes. It also does not require work history for eligibility; instead, SSI is a means-tested program that only has to do with financial need. Eligibility for SSI benefits hinges on only two requirements: that the applicant possesses under $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for couples) and have an extremely limited income.

Frequently, disabled individuals who are eligible for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid offered by the state in which they reside and food stamps. The amount of money an SSI-eligible applicant will collect largely depends on the specific state and the regular, monthly income the individual receives. Once deemed eligible, SSI benefits can be collected from the first of the month in which they first applied.

The Social Security Disability Program

SSDI, on the other hand, is funded by payroll taxes. Recipients of these benefits are essentially insured by their automatic contributions to the Social Security trust fund through FICA taxes. Due to their consistent contributions and earned work credits, the evidence of gainful employment is accepted. While SSI only requires proof of financial need for eligibility, SSDI applicants must be younger than 65, have earned a certain work credit quota, and have experienced a disability that has been sufficiently proven by medical professionals. Also, instead of immediate benefits, there is a five-month waiting period before SSDI candidates can collect their money. 

It is much more difficult to be approved to collect SSDI benefits without the opinions of doctors and documented treatments of the disability or a long work history, even if the candidate meets the minimum requirements.

What is the role of a Social Security disability attorney?

If an individual who has worked sufficiently experiences a disability that prevents him or her from properly completing occupational tasks, then there is a good chance that the person is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. Unfortunately, countless people are denied benefits or have their SSDI benefits cut short because they did not seek the help of a Social Security Disability attorney. These attorneys will review applications, collect medical evidence, communicate with the SSA, file appeals, and represent the candidate during disability hearings. 

At Rosen Moss Snyder LLP, our Social Security Disability attorneys and long-term disability lawyers in Philadelphia, PA, help clients who have been disabled get approved for SSD benefits. Call us to speak with an SSD lawyer today! 

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