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How do Social Security Disability programs differ?

Indiana residents have heard the two terms: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Is there a difference?

Both programs assist Americans who can't work because of a medical disability. Even though they accomplish the same task, the programs serve two different sets of people.

SSDI and SSI vary when it comes to eligibility. People who have paid into the program via taxes on their income and paycheck deductions may receive SSDI. The other, SSI, is for those low-income Americans who haven't earned enough money to apply for SSDI.

SSDI fast facts:

  • Payroll taxes paid by the self-employed or by employers and workers pay for SSDI. People earn credits based on contributions, and there is a benchmark they must meet for eligibility.
  • The disability must be expected to go on for at least 12 months.
  • Monthly benefits correlate with the worker's earnings. The higher your salary, the higher your benefits.
  • There is a five-month waiting period before you can receive benefits to give Social Security a chance to verify eligibility.
  • After two years of SSDI benefits have been paid, disabled workers will receive Medicare coverage.

SSI fast facts:

  • Benefits are paid from general taxes and are not based on income. People who don't earn enough to qualify for SSDI can apply for SSI.
  • Americans age 65 or older, disabled adults, or blind or disable children can receive benefits.
  • Monthly benefit amounts are based on the applicant's resources (including personal property that includes automobiles) and income.
  • SSI beneficiaries automatically are eligible for Medicaid.

Figuring out just which program to apply for and all of the Social Security rules is tough. An Indiana attorney with experience in Social Security disability benefits can help you figure out how the programs can best benefit you.

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