Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) vs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Many people are not aware of the two different disability programs that are available through the Social Security Administration. One of those programs is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) which is the program people pay into when working. This program requires that the applicant have earned enough credits while working to be eligible. The credits are obtained by earning a certain amount of money which varies each year. A general rule of thumb is that the applicant has to have worked five years out of the last ten years to be eligible for SSDI. The other disability program available is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is available for people, disabled adults and disabled children, who meet certain income and resource restrictions, which are often applicants that are not eligible for SSDI. Both programs make the same medical decision regarding disability and therefore to be found disabled by Social Security’s definition requires the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to last for 12 months or more. To prove an inability to engage in substantial gainful activity there has to be an incapability of working 40 hours a week at any job in the national economy and an inability to make $940 (in 2008) or more a month gross.

This is a general description of the two programs and the applicant’s circumstances may change while waiting for a decision, therefore, I would recommend any applicant to apply for both programs and the Social Security Administration will determine eligibility.

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Author: Michael Sawaya
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Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.