If you struggle with a severe medical condition that leaves you unable to work, you can apply for financial support from the federal government. That support often comes from Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. Because these programs can be so similar, knowing which one fits your needs can be difficult.
What is SSDI?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can support people with serious medical conditions that leave them unable to work. You can receive monthly SSDI payments if your disability prevents you from working and you have enough work credits through Social Security.
In some cases, your spouse and children can also receive SSDI benefits. If the Social Security Administration approves your SSDI application, benefits usually kick in after five months. However, if the administration denies your application, you can appeal their decision.
What disabilities can qualify for SSDI?
Here are a few common conditions people can get SSDI for:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory illnesses
- Immune disorders
- Mental health conditions (anxiety, depression, PTSD)
- Nervous system
While these conditions can qualify people for SSDI, it’s also important to note that these conditions don’t automatically qualify individuals to receive benefits. Applicants with any of these conditions must prove they’re severe enough that they can’t maintain employment.
What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides support for those with disabilities and people 65 and older with little to no income. The main difference for SSI is that it’s not paid for through Social Security taxes. Social Security Administration runs the SSI program. However, SSI funding comes from the Department of Treasury’s General Fund.
You can apply for Supplemental Security Income by phone, online or at the nearest Social Security office.
Additionally, if the Social Security Administration denies your application, you can appeal the denial if you wish.
Does SSI have specific requirements I must meet?
Yes, to receive SSI, applicants must show they meet the requirements. However, there are multiple ways you may qualify. You can potentially get Supplemental Security Income if:
- You are totally or partially blind
- Your condition keeps you from working
- Your condition lasts at least one year
- Your condition results in death
Depending on your condition, you may need a good amount of evidence to prove you qualify.
Knowing the difference can help you decide
When you can no longer work due to your condition, having the right benefits in place can give you peace of mind. However, it’s often difficult to know which benefits you can pursue. An experienced SSDI and SSI attorney can help you explore your options. The attorney can also help you fill out your application, which generally improves your chances for a faster approval.