SSDI versus SSI

Posted on: July 10, 2017 9:00 AM
Antonio Bruni
Antonio Bruni represents injured workers and Social Security Disability claimants. A graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, Antonio practiced law with the Pensacola branch of McConnaughhay, Duffy et. al, where he represented both small and large employers in workers' compensation claims throughout the Florida panhandle, and the Morton Law Centers of Florida, prior to joining Michles & Booth.

We get a lot of questions about disability programs, how they are different, and if they can work together to the benefit of a disabled individual. In this blog post, I want to talk to you about Social Security Disability Insurance versus Supplemental Security Income, so you can have a better understanding of the disability programs available to you.

These are two of the disability benefits programs that are available through the Social Security Administration. Both of them basically have the same standard for disability, but Supplemental Security Income has a financial requirement. It’s basically asset based – if you have too many assets you’re not eligible for SSI.

How are SSI and SSDI different?Applying for Disability Insurance

The Social Security Disability Insurance is also called SSDI or Title 2 Benefits. This is an application that can be done online, by telephone or in person at the Social Security office.

Supplemental Security Income benefits, also called SSI Benefits, are Title 16 benefits; the application for these can not be done online, so if you’ve done an application online you have not applied for SSI. That can only be done by phone or in person at the Social Security office.

A lot of times when you apply online, they’ll ask you if you want to apply for SSI and they’ll tell you that if so you have to contact the Social Security office, so if you put an application in and you’ve only done it online, you did not apply for SSI.

Let’s get to the specifics. What is SSI and what is SSDI?

What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income means is what it sounds like – it’s a supplement. Typically, it is for people who have not worked full time for five of the past ten years, or who have never worked full time. What it does is it supplements their income up to approximately $741 per month; it doesn’t go any higher than that amount.

It’s also income and asset based. If you have assets of more than $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a married couple, you are not eligible for SSI. Assets include your car, any cash in your bank accounts, the cash value of life insurance policies, if you have lots of land, anything that has a cash value.

Can I get multiple disability benefits?What is SSDI?

For Social Security Disability Insurance, your assets don’t matter. You could be a millionaire and you could be eligible for and receive SSDI. 

SSDI is a program that is paid for through your FICA, that comes out of every cheque. So, if you’ve been working full time for five of the past ten years, you’re eligible for SSDI. It is based on how much money you’ve been earning, so it can be just a few hundred dollars if you didn’t earn very much money. If you’ve been earning over $117,000 a year on average for the last five years, it could be over $2,600 per month.

If your SSDI is less than $741, you can have both SSDI and SSI. The SSI will supplement your cheque up to $741.

Can you apply for both SSDI and SSI at the same time?

And the answer to that is yes, you can apply for both. If you’re eligible for SSDI but your cheque is going to be less than $741 per month, then SSI can bump your cheque up to that amount, presuming that you meet the other financial requirements from SSI. If you have assets totaling less than $2,000 as an individual and your monthly cheque is less than $741 then SSI will bump you up to the $741.

Medicare & Medicaid

So say your SSD cheque is $500, you would get another $241 from SSI bringing you up to a total of $741. Now what you also get is Medicare and Medicaid. The difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that Medicare comes with SSDI / Title 2 benefits. Medicaid comes with SSI / Title 16 benefits.

Can you have both medicare and medicaid?If you’re accepted for SSDI, you will get Medicare. If you’re accepted for Title 16 SSI benefits, you will get Medicaid. If you were accepted for SSDI but your cheque is less than $741, then SSI kicks in and bumps you up to $741 plus you will also get Medicaid.

Why would you need Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare covers 80% of your co-pays, 80% of your bills, medical bills. Medicaid covers 100%. So, what would happen is if you have both, Medicare would pay 80%; Medicaid would come in and pay the extra 20%; and 100% of your medical bills would be paid. It’s actually a very good program, a good combination for you to get all of your medical bills paid through Medicare and Medicaid.

Have Questions? We’re Here To Help!

In summary, you can get both SSDI and SSI, and you can get both Medicare and Medicaid. They’re both disability programs through the Social Security Administration. Just SSDI does not have the asset check that SSI does have.

If you have any other questions, you can give us a call. There’s always a free, no obligation consultation. Call 1(800) 438-3606 to speak with a disability attorney now.

SSDI vs SSI - Can you have both disability programs?

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