SSI versus SSDI: What’s best for me?

Introduction: SSDI vs. SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits consist of monthly payments and/or Medicare benefits which provide compensation to those who are totally disabled from performing substantial gainful work of any kind. Social Security benefits can be obtained through two programs; (1) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or (2) Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both SSDI and SSI have the same medical requirements, to be discussed below. However, SSDI requires a person to have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years full time. SSI, on the other hand, is based solely on financial need, regardless of prior work. Under either program, a person must meet the same stringent requirements of disability.

The main differences between SSI and SSDI are:

1. The type of medical insurance differs between SSI and SSDI. Under SSI, a person found disabled will receive Medi-Cal (if living in California, otherwise it is Medicaid). Under Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, a person will qualify for Medicare after having been found disabled for 2 years. If a person qualifies for both SSI and SSDI, they will receive the Medi-Cal and decide whether they want the Medicare or not.

2. The amount of money is usually different depending on the type of disability benefits you are receiving. Under SSI, you receive the Federal Government supplement and depending on what state you live in, you may also receive a state supplement to go along with the federal. Due to cost of living adjustments made annually, the amount of money one can receive changes. For an up to date amount, please contact Jorgensen Law at our toll-free number 1-888-855-2948. SSDI amounts are based on how much you earned over the past 10 years. For an exact amount, you may either check your statement that you usually receive around your birthday each year or contact your local Social Security Administration.

3. The amount of back pay also differs under each program. Under Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an injured or disabled claimant can only seek retroactive benefits beginning with the date of the application filing. Under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, a claimant can receive retroactive benefits involving money up to 12 months prior to the application date. Although there are not back-pay incentives for seeking disability benefits beyond what a claimant can receive benefits for, other considerations may warrant going back further. Some of these include: Medical Insurance (Medicare) to be started immediately, locking in your disabled status for retirement purposes, trying to re-open an old denial etc.