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Regarding disability, how is SSI different from SSDI?

After receiving a diagnosis of a serious condition, you may be eligible to receive some financial assistance from the U.S. government.

You may have heard of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These programs sound similar, but what are the differences between them?

The qualifications for SSDI

Not everyone can qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. There are two main considerations.

First, you must have paid into FICA during five of the past 10 years. Second, the condition that prevents you from working must fall under one of the definitions set forth by the Social Security Administration, mainly that you have a disability or illness that will last for at least the next 12 months and is likely terminal.

Eligibility for SSI

You can apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits if you are 65 or older, blind or disabled.

According to the SSA, you have a disability if you cannot perform substantial gainful activity. Your disability either has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months. 

Children may also be eligible; people under the age of 18 who are physically or mentally impaired might qualify for SSI, including those who have a learning problem.

Questions to answer

The SSA will have several questions for you if you apply for either SSI or SSDI benefits. For example, if you believe you qualify for Social Security disability, they will want to know:

  • If you are currently working
  • If your condition is severe
  • Whether your condition is in the SSA list of disabling conditions
  • Whether your condition prevents you from employment in the field in which you used to work
  • Whether you can do other types of work

A long list of conditions

The list of conditions approved by the SSA is a long one. It includes everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to cancer to blood clots that require blood thinners or the insertion of vena cava filters.

While disability benefits for many people are a necessity, it may be challenging for them to successfully apply for these without professional assistance.

An attorney experienced in claims involving both SSI and SSDI can cut through the governmental red tape and help you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.