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What's the Difference Between SSD and SSI

  • When seeking disability benefits from the government, it is important for a person to know what they should apply for: Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

    SSDI, also known as SSD, is income available to people who have become disabled and are unable to work.

    For an injured worker to qualify for SSDI, the person must have accumulated enough work credits over the course of the individual’s work history.


    SSDI Is Insurance

    People receiving SSDI benefits are considered insured because they worked for years and paid into the Social Security trust fund with their payroll taxes.

    A disabled worker can receive SSDI benefits once the application has been processed. This typically will coincide with a five-month waiting period. Then, after being on SSDI for two years, Medicare benefits will kick in to pay for medical expenses.


    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

    SSI can be awarded to disabled persons regardless of whether they have accumulated enough work credits. SSI is a means-tested program, so it is designed to help people with extreme financial need. To qualify, a disabled person must have a very low income and less than $2,000 in assets.

    SSI can begin the month the application is submitted, depending on the processing time in that particular state.


    Additional Benefits Besides SSI

    Because of the low-income requirements, people who qualify for SSI will often also qualify for benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.


    The Bottom Line

    Disabled workers can apply for SSD or SSI. To determine which one an injured worker will qualify for, it is important to do an income and asset analysis. Remember that to receive SSI, a person must be very low income and have limited assets.

    On the other hand, to receive SSD, a worker must have been employed long enough to receive the appropriate amount of credits. This can be confusing, so hiring an attorney to assist with the application process can make things easier.


    Experienced SSD Lawyer in Tennessee

    An attorney at the Gray Law Group can answer your questions about filing for and receiving benefits. To reach us and schedule a consultation, call 504-233-7000 or visit our website.