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SSDI - Why is SSDI better than SSI?

Benefits of SSDI

Some disability applicants wonder what the difference is between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI are both disability programs which provide a monthly cash payment to disabled individuals but SSDI, unlike SSI, is contingent on the worker earning work credits and being insured by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

For SSDI, “the number of work credits needed depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.”

So how do you earn work credits? According to the SSA, “Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year. The amount needed for a credit changes from year to year. In 2013, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,160 of wages or self-employment income. When you've earned $4,640, you've earned your four credits for the year.”

Some claimants may ask whether there are really advantages for qualifying for the SSDI program and the answer is yes.

Advantages of SSDI over SSI

 1.    SSDI monthly payment is higher

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are based on your average earnings and your payroll tax contribution into the Social Security program. The more you have paid into Social Security, the more in monthly benefits you may be entitled to receive. There is not a set amount, but on average this payment amount is approximately $1,000.

Supplemental Security Income is based on the annual Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). For 2013, the Federal Benefit Rate is $710 per month for an individual. This means the most you can receive individually from the Federal Government on SSI is $710 per month. Some states, however, will add what they call a “state supplemental payment” which may make your payment higher in certain states.

2.    Auxiliary benefit payments may be available with SSDI

One of the most important differences between SSDI and SSI is that SSDI provides what the SSA calls auxiliary benefits to certain minor children and spouses. SSI does not pay any type of monthly dependent benefits or auxiliary payments.

3.    SSDI provides Medicare coverage

SSDI recipients will receive Medicare coverage within 24 months from the date of their disability. SSI recipients will receive Medicaid. Many SSI disability claimants complain that doctors are increasingly unwilling to take new Medicaid patients, and SSI recipients may have trouble finding adequate medical care with Medicaid coverage.

4.    SSDI does not stop if you leave the country

Because SSDI is a benefit that you have “earned” your disability benefits will not be terminated if you leave the country (exceptions exist for certain countries). SSI, however, will be terminated if you leave the country for at least 30 days in a row and will not be continued until you are in the country for at least 30 days in a row.



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