The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two programs that provide disability benefits to eligible individuals in the United States. These two programs are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If you are disabled, it’s in your best interest to speak to a Tampa Social Security disability attorney to determine whether or not you qualify for either of these programs.

SSI and SSDI may sound similar, but they are two very different benefit programs. What are the eligibility requirements for SSI and SSDI? What types of benefits can you obtain from these programs? Here is what you need to know about the key differences between SSI and SSDI.

Who Qualifies For SSI Benefits?

SSI is a needs-based program, which means only people with limited income will qualify for these benefits. The income limit is $783 per month for individuals and $1,175 per month for couples in 2020. However, the SSA does not count all sources of income when calculating your monthly income, so you may still qualify if you actually make more than these monthly income limits per month.

In addition to having limited income, you must also be:

  • 65 years of age or older,
  • Blind, or
  • Disabled

To meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled,” you must have a mental or physical condition that:

  • Prevents you from working, and
  • Is expected to result in death, or
  • Has already lasted for at least 12 months or is either expected to last for 12 months.

If you meet this definition of “disabled” along with the other conditions above, you may qualify for SSI benefits.

Who Qualifies For SSDI Benefits?

The eligibility requirements are different for the SSDI program. First, you must meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled,” which means you must have a mental or physical condition that:

  • Prevents you from working, and
  • Is expected to result in death, or
  • Has already lasted for at least 12 months or is either expected to last for 12 months.

Because the SSDI program is funded by payroll taxes paid by workers, you must also have enough “work credits” to qualify for these benefits. The number of work credits you have earned throughout your career will depend on your income. The amount of income you will need to earn to gain one work credit varies from year-to-year. In 2020, you will earn one work credit for every $1,410 of income. But you can only earn up to four work credits per year.

The number of work credits you will need to qualify for SSDI benefits will vary depending on your age. If you are 62 years of age or older, you will need 40 work credits to qualify, 20 of which must have been earned in the last 10 years. But if you are a younger worker, you may need fewer work credits to qualify.

For example, if you become disabled at age 50, you will only need 28 credits. If your disability begins at age 40, you will only need 20 work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits.

If you meet these conditions, you may qualify for SSDI benefits.

How Much Do SSDI and SSI Pay?

The SSI program’s maximum monthly payment is adjusted every year. In 2020, the maximum monthly payment is $783 for individuals and $1,175 for couples.

SSDI benefits are calculated based on your lifetime earnings. The SSA uses a unique formula to calculate how much you should receive per month. Most SSDI recipients are paid between $800 and $1,800 per month in benefits.

Does SSDI Provide Health Insurance Benefits?

If you are approved for SSDI, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare after you have received disability benefits for a period of two years.

The SSA will automatically enroll you in two parts of Medicare, which are:

  • Hospital Insurance (Part A): This will cover in-patient hospital expenses and certain follow-up care services. This coverage is provided at no additional cost to you if you are automatically enrolled as a result of receiving SSDI benefits.
  • Medical Insurance (Part B): This will cover doctors’ expenses, outpatient hospital services, and select other medical services. If you want this type of insurance, you must pay a monthly premium for coverage.

Does SSI Provide Health Insurance Benefits?

If you are a Florida resident who is eligible for SSI benefits, you are automatically eligible for Medicaid coverage as well. After being approved for SSI benefits, you do not need to submit a separate application for Medicaid benefits unless you are in need of nursing home services.

Is It Possible to Get Approved For Both SSDI and SSI Benefits?

Most people will only qualify for either SSDI or SSI benefits. But it is possible to meet the eligibility requirements for both SSDI and SSI. If you are a low income disabled individual who has earned enough work credits to satisfy the SSA’s requirements, you may be eligible for both types of benefits. If you choose to apply for both types of benefits, the SSA refers to this as making a “concurrent claim.”

However, if you are approved for SSDI, the money you earn from this program will count toward the monthly income limit for SSI benefits. As a result, receiving SSDI benefits could make you ineligible for SSI benefits.

Seek Legal Representation From A Social Security Disability Lawyer in Tampa

Both SSDI and SSI programs are designed to help disabled individuals, but these programs are different in many ways. However, regardless of which benefit program you are applying for, you will need to seek legal representation from a Social Security disability attorney. Even if you qualify for SSI or SSDI, it will be difficult to get approved.

An experienced attorney can guide you through the process and help you submit the strongest application possible. If your application is denied—as so many initial claims are—our team will handle every step in the process of appealing the SSA’s decision. With help from our attorneys, you can obtain the SSDI or SSI disability benefits you need and deserve.