Social Security has two different benefit programs for people with disabilities: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Which one you qualify for depends on your age, assets, and especially your work history.
Social Security Disability Income
Social You might see references in your Social Security paperwork to Title II. Title II refers to the part of the law that creates SSDI. Typically when applying for social security disability you’ll check the box for both Title II and Title XVI.
SSDI is an insurance program with your premium paid automatically through your payroll taxes. Because your premiums are paid through payroll taxes, you qualify for SSDI based on your recent work history For adults who have been working most of their lives before becoming disabled, they will have enough of a work history to qualify for SSDI.
However, if you have been out of the workforce for too long before becoming disabled, then you might lose your SSDI eligibility. A general rule of thumb is that you must have worked 5 out of the last 10 years. Talk to your Social Security lawyer about your work history before applying.
Supplemental Security Income
You might see references in your Social Security paperwork to Title XVI. title XVI refers to the part of the law that creates SSI. As stated above, remember to check the box on your disability application for both Title II and Title XVI.
SSI is a needs-based program. Because it is a needs-based program, your income and assets must be low enough to qualify.
Generally, the asset limit is $2,000 of qualified assets for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Only some assets “count” toward the asset limit. The income limit is more complicated. In general, your income limit is the same as the monthly Federal Benefit Rate, the amount of which is discussed below. However, there several rules and exemptions that complicate how your income is calculated. Be sure to talk to your Social Security lawyer about your household income.
How do the benefits compare?
SSI provides a smaller monthly payment than SSDI. The exact amount changes from year to year and can vary a bit from state to state. In 2021, the monthly benefit (the benefit rate) in Alabama is $794 for an individual and $1,191 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse.
SSDI typically provides a larger monthly benefit amount. That amount varies depending on your work history, however, the average amount is $1,171 for an individual and $1,851 for a family.
What kind of medical coverage can I get with SSI or SSDI?
If you qualify for SSDI or SSI, you will likely also qualify for either Medicare or Medicaid.
Recipients of SSDI can qualify for Medicare after 24 months. Medicare is a government insurance program. With Medicare, you pay premiums and deductibles for care.
Usually, if someone qualifies for SSI, they will automatically qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid, like SSI is a needs-based program. Those on Medicaid will typically not pay for medical services, except for a modest co-pay. Medicaid is run by the government of your state.
Where to learn more:
- Once you’re ready you can submit your application for SSDI and SSI online;
- Read more about the differences between SSDI and SSI;
- Learn the basics of Social Security disability from the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives;
- Use Disability Alabama’s disability calculator for an estimate of your benefit. While you do not need any special information to complete the calculation you may want to take a moment to think about your average yearly income and current household income before using the disability calculator; and
- If you’re in Alabama contact Disability Alabama for help with your application or appeal.