New Jersey Social Security Disability Lawyers Discuss The Difference Between SSI and SSDI

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal assistance program that provides income to elderly, blind or disabled persons with limited income and resources. The program is managed by the Social Security Administration, and financed through general tax revenues. You do not need to have any specific work history to qualify for SSI benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides assistance to individuals who are no longer able to work because they have become disabled. Workers who have paid into the system long enough to achieve sufficient work credits may qualify for benefits if they become disabled. The SSDI program is funded by Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers and the self-employed. A person’s monthly benefit amount is determined based on their past earnings.

You can apply for both SSI and SSDI benefits, however, depending on your work history and your financial situation, you may not be eligible for both.

SSI Benefits

To qualify for SSI benefits, an individual must be at least 65 years old, be legally blind, or be permanently disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

SSI is a need based program, so claimants must establish that they have a clear financial need for assistance. Financial eligibility is determined based on an individual’s income (the amount a person receives from wages, food stamps, pensions, etc.) and resources (the value of assets such as savings and real estate equity). If a claimant is under 65 and not legally blind, they must also prove disability.

Individuals approved for SSI benefits will receive a monthly income payment up to the maximum federal benefit rate determined by the SSA. For some individuals, the federal benefit rate may be augmented by payments from the state in which they reside.

If you are turned down for SSI benefits, you have the right to appeal.


SSDI Benefits

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must suffer from a permanent disability that prevents you from working. Although many people believe that you must be off of work for six or twelve months before you can collect disability benefits, this is a mischaracterization of the law. A person can apply for SSDI benefits as soon as they realize they are disabled and cannot return to work. However, a claimant must be expected to not be able to work for at least twelve months or have a terminal illness to qualify for SSDI benefits.

Claimants must also have earned sufficient work credits to qualify—this generally means that benefits are available to individuals who have been working for five out of the last ten years, paying into the Social Security system. Requirements are less strict for younger individuals, because parents’ work credits may be applied to applicants under a certain age.

Benefit amounts for SSDI are calculated based on how long a person has been working and their income level.


New Jersey Social Security Disability Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Help Disabled Individuals Get The Benefits They Need

The Social Security Administration has a very limited budget, and more and more applications are being processed every year. As a result, between 60 and 80 percent of applications are denied. A knowledgeable New Jersey disability attorney at Shebell & Shebell can help you beat the odds by guiding you through the appeals process and representing you at your disability hearing, giving you the best opportunity to be awarded benefits.

Our seasoned disability attorneys represent disabled individuals throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Keansburg, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 732-532-2011 or contact us online today.