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Difference Between SSI And SSD – Everything You Need To Know

Do you have a disability that hinders your ability to retain a job or find a new one? Then, you are likely entitled to disability benefits from government assistance programs. If you have already thought about applying for disability compensation, you probably noticed there are two main programs: SSI and SSD. 

Most people refer to SSI and SSD distinctively. But, despite their similarities, each program has unique eligibility criteria that claimants must meet to receive the benefit. Learning about the difference between SSI and SSD can help you understand which fits you better and which one you should apply for. 

Applying for Social Security disability benefits programs can be tricky; beyond learning the differences between these two programs, understanding how they work will increase your chances of securing your benefits. 

In this article, our Indianapolis disability attorney firm will explore everything you need to know about SSI and SSD, including the criteria for each program, how they work, and which one is more beneficial for you. 

What is SSD?

Social Security Disability Insurance, also called SSD or SSDI, is one of the most popular government assistance programs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs this program for citizens who can no longer perform their jobs due to an injury, health condition, or disability.

Currently, this program has over 7 million disability benefits recipients. Still, getting approval from the SSA is more complex than applying and waiting for a monthly check. To obtain these benefits, people must file a disability case and submit enough evidence to support it. After reviewing the claim, the SSA security workers will determine whether the claimant qualifies for the benefits. 

What are the eligibility criteria you must meet to receive SSDI? 

  • Having a disability that prevents you from doing the same or similar work you did before your disability. 
  • Having a disability that will last for at least 12 months or longer.
  • Being younger than your retirement age. 
  • Having enough work credits collected from your working history. 

Regarding the last requirement point, to receive SSDI, you must have worked in jobs that paid Social Security taxes. The number of work credits you need to qualify depends on your age and the number of years you have worked. For example, adults over 30 need at least 20 work credits and must have worked 5 out of the last 10 years. 

What is SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It is a federal disability benefits program offered by the Social Security Administration. The program makes monthly payments to elders, people with disabilities, and blind individuals struggling financially. 

SSI benefits are meant to help individuals with low incomes meet their basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothes, and health care. It is also a solution for people who don’t have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security disability insurance and otherwise couldn’t get access to Social Security benefits. 

The most crucial eligibility requirements for SSI are:

  • Being at least 65 or older or having a disability.
  • Applicants must have low incomes or scarce resources. 

Supplemental Security Income is meant to help people with financial challenges; therefore, there is an income limit of $1,971—individuals who earn more than that figure can’t access SSI benefits.

The SSA has a complex formula for determining what factors are considered income. For example, money and earnings from a job count, but not all of it. Other Social Security benefits or mention do count, but government aid, such as food stamps or energy assistance, don’t. 

Financial assets can also impact SSI eligibility. Applicants’ assets can be at most $2000 for individuals and $3000 for couples. The SSA will look into your bank account, bonds, and stocks. Possessions such as your land, house, or car don’t count.

Is SSD the same as SSI?

Most people confuse SSD and SSI, and the confusion runs so deep that sometimes, both programs are regarded as the same. Despite their similarities, there is a considerable difference between SSI and SSD. Let’s take a closer look at what these disability programs have in common and what sets them apart. 

SSD and SSI similarities:

  • Both benefit programs have the same disability criteria based on medical proof and functional abilities.
  • Both programs offer monthly payments along with health care programs. 
  • Both programs share a similar application process – with different forms. 

Difference between SSI and SSD:

  • SSI is meant to help elders or disabled individuals with low incomes meet basic needs.
  • SSD assists disabled individuals who have made enough contributions to Social Security through previous work taxes. 

Does SSD turn into SSI?

At no point does SSD turn into SSI or vice-versa. If your liability improves, you will likely stop receiving the benefits. If you have been granted long-term benefits, once you reach your full retirement age, both Social Security Disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income turn into Social Security retirement benefits. 

The switch will be automatic; there is nothing you need to do, and typically, your benefits don’t change. 

Can I apply for SSI if I have an SSD?

You can apply for SSI and SSD if you qualify for both programs. However, you must be aware that having SSD can reduce your monthly SSI payments or make you eligible for this benefit. 

Supplemental Security Income has a monthly income cap of $1,971. SSD benefits go into that cap, so if your work income plus SSD exceeds the limit, you may get rejected for SSI. 

The average monthly SSD benefit in 2024 is $1,537, so you have a chance of receiving reduced SSI benefits. 

For instance, if you have been granted low SSD due to an injury because you don’t have sufficient work credits to obtain the full benefit, SSI can be an additional income source until you heal and can go back to work. 

What Is The Five-Year Rule For Social Security Disability?

Getting approval for Social Security disability benefits is a complex, lengthy process. If you have gone through it once, you are probably worried that if you go back to work and your disability returns, you will have to go through it all again. 

Maybe you heard that if you secured Social Security benefits once, the “five-year rule” can streamline the process if you need to apply again. 

The SSA doesn’t formally have a “five-year rule,” but it does have a policy called the expedited reinstatement process, or EXR. EXR incentivizes SSD beneficiaries to return to work as soon as possible without worrying about not collecting disability benefits ever again.

Once you stop receiving SSD benefits, you have up to five years to reply again through EXR. While the SSA is reviewing your new application, you will receive temporary benefits for up to 6 months. 

What is the most approved disability?

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal system-related disabilities make the top of the most SSA-approved liabilities list.

Social Security has a long list of qualifying disabilities, ranging from physical and mental conditions to injuries and military PTSD. For veterans facing disabilities due to their time on duty, a VA disability lawyer can help them secure the compensation they deserve. 

Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyers 

Now that you know the difference between SSI and SSD, you have a better picture of which program you should apply. Or perhaps you found out you qualify for both SSI and SSD and decided to apply for each. 

Obtaining Social Security benefits is a complicated process filled with intricate rules and laws, and it can be a bumpy road for people with no legal experience. If you want to streamline your journey and secure the benefits you are entitled to, our professional social security disability lawyers can help. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with us; tell us more about your case so we can learn how to help you win your disability case.