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What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

People get hurt every day. You could break your ankle playing basketball. Or, you may get into a bad car accident and become permanently disabled. If this happens, you may need to collect disability.

When people hear the word disability, they don’t realize that there are two (2) types. The type of disability you will receive depends on one major thing: your work history.

If you have a solid work history, chances are, you’ll qualify for something called SSDI. SSDI is Social Security Disability Insurance. It works just like other types of insurance policies. You pay into it for your entire career. If you’ve worked enough hours, you’ll be eligible for coverage.

The other type of disability is SSI. This is Social Security Insurance. Unlike SSDI, it has nothing to do with your work history. Unlike SSDI, it’s not funded by payroll taxes. It’s funded through general taxes.

People who apply for SSI have to meet strict requirements. Although most people who apply for SSDI will be approved, the same cannot be said for SSI applicants.

If you’ve become permanently disabled and need to apply for disability benefits, you need to meet with a disability attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

How Does SSDI Work?

If you’ve worked most of your life, you may be eligible to collect under SSDI. Remember – SSDI is not the same thing as worker’s compensation. Workers comp covers you for injuries and disabilities caused by work-related injuries. SSDI covers people who are disabled outside the scope of their employment.

In order to qualify for SSI, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Have enough hours worked and contributed enough money to SSDI through FICA
  • Under the age of 65
  • Have a qualifying medical disability
  • Waited the mandatory five (5) month waiting period
  • Have proof from a doctor that you are indeed disabled

Another general requirement for SSDI is that you won’t be able to work for at least one (1) year. The goal is that you’ll stay on SSDI until you’re ready to return to work. In this sense, it is kind of like worker’s compensation.

The number of hours worked or “credits” you need for SSDI changes every year. However, the general rule is that you need to have at least 40. This means that you’ve worked a normal, full-time job for at least ten (10) years. If you’re younger, they may require fewer credits. And, at least half of your credits must’ve been earned in the last ten (10) years.

Once you’ve been on SSDI for two (2) years, you’re eligible to receive Medicare. If you return to work after your disability, the two (2) years will start over again.

How Does SSI Work?

Unlike SSDI, you don’t need to have a certain work history to qualify for SSI. As long as you are deemed “in need”, you may apply for SSI.

SSI is a strictly need-based program. Basically, you must have less than $2,000 in assets to qualify. For couples, this amount is raised to $3,000. This means if you own property, you probably won’t be eligible for SSI.

You also must be on a fixed income. The requirements for SSI are similar to those for food stamps. And, like other welfare programs, once you become eligible for SSI, you’ll also be entitled to receive Medicaid.

What are the Specific Requirements for Disability?

In order to qualify for any type of disability, your disability attorney in Milwaukee will have to prove that you are disabled. Whether you’re applying for SSDI or SSI, you must show that this disability will exist for at least one (1) year.

Your doctor will have to certify that you are, indeed, disabled. You must be suffering from a medical condition that qualifies under the SSA. Your condition must also be considered severe.

If you’re working, you can’t apply for disability. You have to be out of work. If your income for the current year averages over $1,220 per month, you won’t be eligible for disability. This is why SSDI has a five (5) month waiting period.

You must not be able to work. If you’re able to do the job you did previously, you won’t qualify. The same is true if you can do any other type of work on a part or full-time basis.

Contact a Disability Attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

If you or a loved one have become disabled, you may need to apply for disability. This can be very confusing. There are different programs and different requirements. You want to sit down with someone who understands the system.

A disability attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is familiar with all of these rules and requirements. Call and schedule your initial consultation today.

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