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SSI vs. SSDI: What’s the Difference in Honea Path, SC

As the parent or guardian of a disabled child, you may be wondering how to apply for government benefits in order to provide your child with the best care possible. The Social Security Administration offers two types of disability benefits: Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. But which type is best for your specific situation? Keep reading to learn about the similarities — and the important differences — between these SSA programs so that you can apply for the correct program for your child.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is distributed in the form of monthly payments to eligible blind, disabled or elderly people with limited income and resources. In addition, children living in low-income households with medical conditions (or a combination of conditions) that meet the SSI eligibility requirements may be eligible to receive monthly payments. In order to qualify, recipients must live in a household with income and resources that do not exceed an amount set each year by the Social Security Administration. While there is a set monthly payment amount for applicants nationwide, each person’s specific payment amount will depend on their income and resources and the state in which they live.

What is Social Security Disability Income?

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is also distributed in the form of monthly payments to eligible blind or disabled people who can no longer work, as well as certain members of their families. As opposed to the need-based SSI program, SSDI eligibility is based on an individual’s work history, and the benefit amount is based on their earnings — more specifically, the FICA contributions taken from every paycheck they earned. Children can receive partial benefits if a disabled parent is receiving SSDI. An unmarried, disabled adult whose disability began before age 22 can also receive SSDI (even if they have never worked) if a parent dies or retires. They will be eligible for “child” benefits because their payments will be based on their parent’s Social Security account, but their disability must meet the eligibility requirements for adults. For more information on benefits for a disabled adult child (DAC), visit the Social Security Administration’s page on SSDI eligibility.

Similarities and Differences Between SSI and SSDI

SSI and SSDI follow the same medical and functional eligibility criteria, and when a disability determination is made, it is shared by the two programs (if an applicant applies for both). The application process is largely the same (although the forms differ), and both programs have associated health insurance. 

The biggest difference between SSI and SSDI relates to who is eligible for each program. As mentioned above, SSI is need-based and SSDI is based on work history. If you are the parent of a disabled child and you have limited income and resources, SSI is the program to apply for. To learn more about applying for SSI, we recommend exploring the Social Security Administration’s many resources on benefits for children with disabilities. If you have an adult child who is unmarried and disabled and you are retired or disabled yourself, we recommend applying for DAC benefits through SSDI.

If you have already applied for SSI or SSDI and have been denied, let us know. Here at the disability law firm of attorney J. Robert Surface, we have helped many parents of disabled children appeal decisions made by the Social Security Administration. There is no guarantee you will win benefits if you apply, but we can help ensure you’ve done everything correctly when it comes to your application. We’re here to help, and we won’t stop fighting for you and your family.

If you have questions, we are available 24/7 at (864) 235-0886. The office of J. Robert Surface, Attorney at Law is located at 513 E Greer St, Honea Path, SC 29654. He proudly serves clients from Greenville, Clemson, Spartanburg and Columbia, SC, and areas of Georgia and North Carolina.

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