Applying for Social Security benefits is complex enough without you having to worry about if you are applying for the right program. However, not understanding the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income can lead to a rejection.
They are similar in that they both provide monthly financial assistance to those with disabilities (using the same standard of qualification) and come from the Social Security Administration. When you apply for SSI, it also counts as applying for SSDI. However, the similarities end there.
What is SSDI?
SSDI is income you, your spouse or your parents have paid into through employment. Eligibility depends on credits you earn from how long you have worked and how much income you have made. You must be 62 years old, disabled or blind to receive SSDI. You may also receive Medicare.
What is SSI?
SSI is for those who are at least 65 years old or meet the disability requirement for SSDI, and have a limited income. Funds come from federal taxes instead of personal and employer contributions, and the state may provide a supplementary payment. The formula for how much you receive is different than it is for SSDI. Available health coverage is Medicaid, and food assistance may also be an option.
How to apply for benefits
The application process entails filling out paperwork and gathering records. Although you can find all the necessary information and documents online, completing it on your own is not a good idea. Doing so increases the chances of a denial of benefits due to errors and missing information. Utilizing the services of an attorney may result in a quicker outcome with accurate benefits.
If you do receive a rejection, however, all is not lost. Your lawyer can also help you appeal the decision and prepare you for the proceedings. Regardless of the program you are applying for, you have the right to receive the assistance you need.