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Thursday, May 14, 2009

What is the difference between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - Part I?

Both SSD and SSI are Social Security Administration programs that pay benefits due to a person's disability, but they are very different. SSD is available to people that are "insured." That means people that have worked and paid payroll taxes into the system for a minimum period of time. SSI is an indigent program available to people that do not qualify for SSD or for people that have limited assets and SSD does not pay enough to reach the SSI level.

Here are some basis financial requirements of both programs:

· SSDI financial eligibility is based solely on the Social Security (F.I.C.A.) payroll taxes.

· Resources are not taken into account

· To be eligible for SSDI, the claimant must have paid F.I.C.A. taxes in 20 out of the last 40 calendar quarters (five out of the last ten years). If the claimant is under age 31, that number is reduced. Over age 42, the minimum number of quarters increases approximately one quarter for each year over age 42. 20 CFR §404.130.

· As long as the claimant can meet the payroll tax payment requirement, a claimant may receive SSD benefits if they become totally disabled, regardless of what other income or wealth they may have.

Financial Eligibility

Non-medical requirements

· Resources/Assets must be less than $2,000 ($3,000 for a married couple). 20 CFR §416.1205. This includes all money in checking, savings, as well as retirement savings accounts. It also includes real estate (except your home), stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments. 20 CFR §416.1201. It does NOT include one car, the residence the claimant lives in, most personal property including furniture and clothing, and certain other exempt items. 20 CFR §416.1210; 20 CFR §416.1212; 20 CFR §416.1216. 20 CFR §416.1218.

· Income is more complicated since it is related to the amount of SSI benefit a claimant is eligible to receive and that varies. Generally, the claimant’s income must be less than the amount of benefit they would be eligible to receive, and SSI will only pay the difference between the claimant’s other income and the amount they would be entitled to receive based on their residence and living situation. 20 CFR §416.1100.

My next post will address how much in monthly benefits the Social Security Disability system pays in comparison to the SSI system.

Copyright (c) 2008 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Long Term Disability claim, ERISA Disability benefit claim, Social Security Disability claim, or Veterans Disability compensation or pension claim, call Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

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