What is the Difference Between SSD and SSI?

There are several different types of Social Security Disability benefits/programs. The two most common types are Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security Disability is the most commonly-recognized disability benefit.

To qualify for SSD, an applicant must first meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.” The Social Security Administration deems you “disabled” if you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (including an emotional or learning problem) which results in the inability to do any substantial gainful activity; and can be expected to result in death; OR has lasted or can be expected to last for at least 12 months.

In addition, the applicant must also have earned enough work credits to qualify for this disability benefit. The amount of work credits needed varies depending on the applicant’s age at the time they become disabled. Work credits for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program are earned through work activity. Each quarter that you work and pay into the Social Security program, you receive one work credit. Individuals who have no work history are not likely to qualify for SSDI benefits.

A common misunderstanding we sometimes hear from our clients is that you must be poor, or have very limited assets, to qualify for SSD. In the State of New Jersey, this is simply not true. If you are disabled and applying for SSD, how poor or rich you are is irrelevant. You can receive SSD as long as you 1) have earned enough work history credits, and 2) meet Social Security’s definition of disability.

On the other hand, SSI is a need-based program. The major difference between SSD and SSI is that SSI does not require work history in order to qualify and is for those who have limited income and resources who are either older than 65, blind or disabled. After Social Security determines that you meet their financial criteria, it will decide whether or not you meet the criteria for disability, which is the same definition of disability as for SSD. Social Security looks at the total income, finances and resources of the household when determining whether an individual meets the eligibility criteria for SSI. If a person is married, Social Security will take the individual’s spouse’s income into consideration. For 2016, the monthly maximum federal income amount is $733.00 for an eligible individual or $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. However, this monthly amount can be reduced by any income you receive that can be used to meet your needs – this includes cash, food, and shelter.


New Jersey Social Security Disability Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Can Get You Results

Understanding which SSD or SSI disability benefits you may qualify for and how to increase your chances for disability benefits can be complicated. The experienced Social Security Disability lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 732-532-2011 or contact us online today.