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SSDI vs. SSI: A Brief Look at the Differences and One’s Entitlement to Benefits

October 28, 2020 Disability

Our Baltimore SSI Lawyer Discusses the Difference Between SSDI and SSI

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal agency that administers federal benefits programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  SSDI pays benefits to individuals who have a qualifying disability and have acquired enough work credits by paying into the Social Security program. The criteria for qualifying for SSDI focuses more on the applicant’s disability than assets. To determine if you have enough work credits to apply for SSDI, you may log into your My Social Security account online. 

In contrast, SSI pays benefits to an individual who has a qualifying disability and also has limited income and resources. SSI focuses more on the financial need of disabled applicants and considers their assets.  

Although these two programs differ in some of their technical requirements, both programs require applicants to medically qualify for assistance from the SSA. To be found medically disabled, an applicant must prove that he or she is out of work or expects to be out of work for at least 12 months  The applicant must also make less than the amount stemming from what the SSA determines to be a “substantial gainful activity.”  This is a monthly amount set by the Administration and it changes periodically. The amounts set by the SSA that is considered for purposes of substantial gainful activity for 2020 are:

  • $1260 a month for non-blind individuals  
  • $2110 for statutorily blind individuals

Is Social Security Disability an Entitlement? 

The main difference between the SSI and SSDI programs, as noted above, is simply that one considers assets and needs and the other focuses more on the disability itself.  SSI is considered a needs-based program whereas SSDI is considered more of an entitlement program. SSI is only available to disabled applicants who have very low income and assets.  Alternatively, SSDI does not have specific asset limits but does require an applicant to have worked and paid into the Social Security system for at least 10 years prior to the qualifying disability. 

Why Do I Need An Attorney to Apply for SSD or SSI Benefits?

Many applications for SSD or SSI benefits are denied by the SSA. Applying for disability benefits can be challenging, stressful, and usually requires a substantial amount of documentation and information. A Baltimore SSD attorney at the Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin can assist you with your SSD or SSI application from the very beginning, making the process much easier. Our caring and dedicated disability team has a wealth of experience working on SSDI and SSI cases. We will take the burden off of you when preparing your case as we understand how to thoroughly prepare a case for a hearing, ask the right questions to your medical staff, and assist the judge in understanding the severity of your condition.  We are here to help you with your case every step of the way.

Need the Help of a Trusted Baltimore SSD Attorney? Contact The Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin Today

Whatever your disability issue is, the experienced disability lawyers at the Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin are here to help you every step of the way.  If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, contact a Baltimore SSI lawyer today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We work with clients throughout Maryland and surrounding states.