Overview of Disability

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Disability Requirements

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How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

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SSDRC Disability Blog

What Is The Difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

First, how are SSD (Social Security disability) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income disability) similar? The Social Security Administration manages both SSI and Social Security disability, so, naturally, there are many similarities between the two programs.

Both SSD and SSI require that an individual make a formal application for disability benefits, usually at a social security field office or district office (whichever one is closest to you). Once a disability application is taken, a Social Security claims representative, or CR, will forward the disability file to a state disability processing agency for a medical determination.

Medical determinations for both SSI and SSD are handled the same way and if the disability claim involves both programs the medical determination is made simultaneously for both SSI and SSD. The difference in SSD and SSI really involves non-medical entitlement guidelines.

For instance, Social Security disability is based upon an individualís work activity and insured status. Insured status is gained through the amount of earnings posted to an individualís earnings record each year by the Internal Revenue Service.

Each year, Social Security determines what amount of earnings equals a quarter of coverage. An individual can earn a maximum of four quarters of coverage per year toward insured status. The amount of quarters it takes to be insured depends upon an individualís age at the time they become disabled. The least amount of quarters of coverage an individual can have and still be insured is six quarters.

Additionally, Social Security disability involves being "fully insured" and "disability insured". Disability insured status generally requires that an individual has worked twenty quarters out of the last forty quarters. Basically, five out of the last ten years prior to becoming disabled if no special disability insured rules apply (for example, there is a special "age 34-31" disability insured status rule).

For all "disability insured" individuals, there is a date first insured and a date last insured for Social Security disability. If an individual has had a disability denial after their date last insured (appeals have been denied as well), they are no longer eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Since Social Security disability is based upon an individualís earnings, disability benefits vary depending upon earnings amounts. In addition to potentially higher monthly benefit amounts, there may be enough money on the individualís record for their dependents to receive monthly benefits as well.

SSI, on the other hand, is a need based disability program. As such, it has income and resource requirements that must be met in order to receive a monthly benefit check. SSI disability beneficiaries must meet income and resource limits in order to receive disability benefits.

The income requirement refers to the fact that, to receive SSI, you cannot be working and earning what is considered to be substantial and gainful income (the current SGA limit).

The resource limit refers to the maximum value of a person's assets. Currently, to receive SSI you cannot have more than two thousand dollars in countable assets. Having more than this amount of assets can make you ineligible. Because of asset limitations and other rules that are specific to SSI, there are times SSI disability applicants are never paid benefits even though they have been found medically disabled by Social Security.

Lastly, Social Security determines the maximum monthly SSI disability amount and, unlike SS, there are no benefits payable to dependents.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Questions and Answers about Social Security Disability and SSI Disability

1. How Long Can You Receive Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)?

2. Can I Get SSDI Disability If I have Not Worked Before?

3. Social Security Denied Me For SSD But Didnít Have All My Medical Records, What Do I Do?

4. After I File For Disability Will Social Security Pay For Me To See A Doctor?

5. Is It Harder To Get Approved For SSI Disability Versus SSD?

6. How Can You Get Medical Records For A Disability Case If You Have No Insurance?

7. Will You Get Social Security Disability Benefits If You Cannot Work Your Old Job?

8. What will trigger a review of a social security disability claim?

9. For Social Security Disability Do I Need To Give My Dates of Treatment?

10. How are Social Security Disability cases decided? - the Process Social Security Uses In Every Disability Case

11. Does The Social Security Reconsideration Take as Long As The Disability Application?

12. When You Apply For Disability Do You Need To write Down Everything That Is Wrong With You?

13. Disability Criteria - Eligibility For Social Security and SSI Disability

14. For Disability, What Does It Mean When A person Can Only Do Sedentary Work?

15. Social Security Disability And Trial Work Months

16. How Does Social Security Decide How Much I Get For Disability?

17. How Disabled Does One Have To Be To Collect Disability?

18. Social Security Disability Medical Evaluation Form, Can A Doctor Be Forced to Complete One?

19. Can I qualify for disability if I am working?

20. Do CE exams usually result in denials for disability?

21. How to get disability, tip 1

22. How to get Disability, tip 2

23. How to get disability, tip 3

24. How to get disability, tip 4

25. Chances of winning Social Security Disability