If you suddenly find yourself unable to work because of a medical condition it can be a scary and frustrating time. How will you pay the bills? Support yourself and your family? Fortunately, there are government programs that may be able to help. Both the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Insurance program (SSI) provide monthly monetary assistance to eligible participants. Before you apply to either, or both, you should have at least a basic understanding of the difference between SSDI and SSI.
Both the SSI and SSDI program provide monthly monetary benefits to disabled individuals. Both require you to meet the Social Security Administration (SSA) definition of disabled which requires that:
- You cannot do work that you did before;
- The SSA decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
The primary difference between the two programs is found in the income/work history eligibility requirements. To be eligible for SSDI you must have worked enough prior to your disability to qualify. According to the SSA guidelines, working earns you “work credits”. You need enough “work credits” to qualify for SSDI. The number of “work credits” you need will depend on your age at the time of application. If you qualify for SSDI, your dependents may also qualify for monthly benefits based on your work record. Typically, SSDI benefits are higher than SSI benefits as well.
SSI, on the other hand, does not have a work history requirements. Instead, eligibility for SSI is based on your income and resources. To qualify, you must have income and resources that fall below the program limits, along with meeting the “disabled” requirement. Unlike the SSDI program, SSI benefits are not available to family members based on your eligibility. You may, however, be automatically found eligible for other assistance programs, such as Medicaid, and SNAP (food stamps) if you receive SSI benefits.
Unfortunately, almost 70 percent of initial SSDI and SSI applications are denied, often because of incomplete applications or because of missing information. If you believe you may be eligible for SSI or SSDI be sure to consult with an experienced attorney before applying.
If you have additional questions or concerns about SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, or your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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