What’s the Difference Between SSI and SSDI Law?


The chief difference between Social Security Disability (SSD, or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the fact that SSD is for workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI disability benefits are for low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSD.

Though many people don’t or can’t tell the difference between SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), they are two completely different governmental programs. While both programs are overseen and managed by the Social Security Administration, and medical eligibility is determined in the same manner for both programs, there are very different aspects between the two.

What Is SSI?If I Move to a Different State Will I Lose My Disability Benefits?

Supplemental Security Income is a program that is stringently need-based, according to income and assets. SSI is funded by general fund taxes. SSI is called a “means-tested program,” which means it has nothing to do with work history, but only with financial need. To meet the SSI income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a severly limited income.

Disabled people who are eligible under the income requirements for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid in the state they live in. Many who qualify for SSI will also qualify for food stamps, and the amount an eligible person will receive depends on where they live and the amount of regular, monthly income they have. SSI benefits will begin on the first of the month when you first submit your application.

What Is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through payroll taxes. SSDI recipients are considered “insured” because they have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes. SSDI candidates must be younger than 65 and have earned a certain number of “work credits. If a disabled person has received SSDI for two years, they are then eligible for Medicaid.

Under SSDI, the spouse and children dependents of the disabled are eligible to receive partial dependent benefits. These are called auxiliary benefits. Although, only adults over the age of 18 can receive the SSDI disability benefit.

There is a five-month waiting period for benefits. This means that the SSA won’t pay you benefits for the first five months after you become disabled. The amount of the monthly benefit once the waiting period ends depends on your earnings record, a lot like the Social Security retirement benefit.

Do you need help navigating it all? Contact us today.


How to Identify SSA Frauds

SSA’s Fraud Police

You answer a knock on your door, and find two strangers, one of whom is dressed in a police officer’s uniform. They inform you that you may be the victim of Identity Theft, as your ID was found in a den of thieves. Cause for alarm? Yes, but not for the reason you think. If you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits, you are likely the victim of a Fraud Investigation by the CDIU.

The Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit (CDIU) was jointly established by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in 1998, to prevent fraud. There are currently 28 CDIUs in 24 states, including Washington State. They accept referrals from SSA employees, Administrative Law Judges (ALJ), third parties, and even “anonymous sources.” (www.oig.ssa.gov) If these people want to talk with you, it is because someone suspects that you are trying to defraud the SSA.

The “identity theft ruse” is designed to get invited into your home and to get you chatting with the investigators. Ironically, CDIU agents are allowed to lie to you, in an attempt to prove that you are lying to SSA. They will also talk with your neighbors, friends and family, and often videotape your activities without your knowledge.

Reports generated by the CDIU often contain half-truths and inappropriate conclusions. For example: “W2 stated that Mr. Smith did not appear at all disabled to her.” Unless the anonymous Witness #2 is your doctor, her opinion is irrelevant – and yet your disability claim may be denied based on this CDIU report.

If you have a current claim for SSI or Social Security Disability benefits, and you suspect you have been the target of a CDIU investigation, notify your representative right away. If you are unrepresented, ask SSA for a copy of the CDIU report and all the videotape and interview transcripts. Be prepared to discuss the allegations in the CDIU report with the ALJ at your disability hearing. Depending upon the circumstances, you may also consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney, as these fraud investigations sometimes lead to prison.

Five Things Social Security Won’t Tell You

Five Things Social Security Won't Tell You

POTENTIAL BENEFIT CUT: In recent years, the number of people collecting disability benefits has really spiked. Some of the change can be attributed to more women entering the workforce over the past several decades, and as baby boomers age, more of them are qualifying for and collecting disability, as well psychiatric disorders increasing over recent years. Additionally, the slow economy caused some workers to lose their jobs or find that there were fewer they qualified for due to their disability so they applied for disability benefits.Five Things Social Security Won't Tell You

All of these factors are draining the Social Security Trust Fund faster than expected and it could be depleted by 2016. If this happens and congress doesn't act, those receiving benefits could be facing a 20% cut.

SOCIAL SECURITY USED TO BE A BETTER DEAL: Employees today pay more in Social Security taxes than previous generations did. Additionally, when it's their turn to retire, they're also more likely to receive smaller benefits relative to the taxes they paid in. As the number of eligible beneficiaries grows and the funds deplete, taxes are raised and will probably continue to be raised.

In 1965, workers paid 3.6%. They now pay 6.2%. For example: an individual who retired at the age of 65 in 1980 and made $44,600 would have paid $98,000 in Social Security taxes and received $207,000 in benefits. Now, an individual retiring in 2030 making about the same money will pay $404,000 in Social Security taxes and only receive $339,000 in benefits.

IF YOU WANT MORE BENEFITS, KEEP WORKING: Those approaching retirement age have been doing the math. How much do they get if they wait to take payments? To get the biggest bump in benefits, you have to wait beyond full retirement age. For every additional year you wait, you get an increase in benefits of up to 8% until age 70. You can visit the Social Security Website to calculate your date and yearly rate of increase.

IT'S POSSIBLE TO COLLECT UNEMPLOYEMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY: According to the National Employment Law Project who advocates for seniors to collect both, a growing number of seniors are doing so and it's perfectly legal as long as you report it to both parties.

IF YOU MAKE TOO MUCH, YOUR BENEFITS WILL BE TAXED: Many Americans think they can't be taxed on their Social Security Benefits since they come from taxes, but they'd be wrong. If you receive substantial taxable income from other sources such as dividends, self employment, investment interest and pensions, or IRA or 401k distributions, your Social Security benefits could be taxed.  The rule is if your combined income (other sources plus half of your Social Security benefits) exceeds $25,000 for an individual and $32,000 for a married couple then, you may be taxed on up to 85% of your benefits.

See also:

Social Security, Disability and Brain Injuries

How Many Work Credits Do I Need for SSDI Eligibility?


How Many Work Credits Do I Need for SSDI Eligibility?

How Many Work Credits Do I Need for SSDI Eligibility?

You must have earned enough work credits to have gained insured status in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. The units Social Security uses to measure how much claimants have worked are called work credits. In general, one quarter of work is equal to one work credit. To be more specific, in 2013, one work credit was equal to $1160 in work and four work credits was equal to $4640. All four credits (a year's worth of work) can be earned in just one quarter or throughout the year.

Social Security's Recent Work Test is a something you must pass in order to qualify for SSDI benefits. For those at least 31 years of age you must have worked five of the last 10 years (20 of the last 40 quarters). Using the work credit concept, you must have earned 20 credits in the last 10 years before you became disabled. There are, however, special rules for those under 31 years of age that may qualify them for SSDI even if they haven't worked five of the previous 10 years. For those aged 24 to 30, you must have worked at least half of the time that has passed since you turned 21. Similarly, if you're under the age of 24, you must have earned at least six work credits or worked at least 18 months in the last three years before you became disabled.

You must also pass the duration of the work test in order to be eligible for SSDI. Passing this test requires that you have worked a particular number of years based on the age at which you become disabled. To pass this test, your work DOES NOT have to fall within a certain period of time. Find details at http://search.socialsecurity.gov/search?affiliate=ssa&query=work+credits.

Maddox and Laffoon can help! If you need help deciphering if you have enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI, contact us.



Arthritis Sufferers and SSDI Benefits

Arthritis Sufferers and SSDI Benefits

Much of the elderly population in the United States suffers from the disease of arthritis, but were you aware that many young people also are also affected by this debilitating disease? Approximately two thirds of Americans that suffer from arthritis are actually under the age of 65. This means they're working force age and arthritis can be and is affecting their performance at many of their jobs.Arthritis Sufferers and SSDI Benefits

Believe it or not, arthritis is one of the most common causes of disability in the country. Not only is this true, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also expect more Americans to be diagnosed with this condition as time goes on. Arthritis can be quite serious as it places physical limitations on many of its sufferers making it hard or impossible to do some work tasks. It's estimated that one third of people with arthritis suffer from related physical limitations.

Groups like the Arthritis Foundation are trying to raise awareness for the seriousness of this disease and the impact it can have on individuals. These groups say that the disease is not often seen as a big deal because it doesn't have a high mortality rate in comparison to other conditions. This may be so, but people need to be aware of the suffering and hardship that arthritis does cause for those who suffer from it. Arthritis can really affect a person's life and their ability to work.

In fact, arthritis can really be a crippling disease. When younger people suffer from this condition, they often work slower and find it difficult to complete tasks at work due to the pain and physical limitations that it causes. Arthritis sufferers that struggle at work or can't work may be surprised to know but SHOULD realize that they can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. These benefits can help individuals pay for basic monthly expenses and medical bills that can otherwise be difficult to afford.