The differences between the social benefits offered by Social Security in the United States can be subtle, and one may tend to get confused. For that, we have prepared here a quick guide to learn the difference and know which of the two you qualify for. First, let’s answer the crucial question: Are the SSI and SSDI the same? Well, the short answer is no, and there are several differences. First, the SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It is a program that provides benefits to individuals who have a disability that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
The SSI category is not linked or related to the applicant’s work history. You can apply for and receive benefits even if you have never worked or paid Social Security taxes. But your income and other financial resources, such as bank accounts and property, should not exceed strict limits. Next, we’ll tell you all you need to know in order to correctly apply and to get selected as a qualifying applicant.
Is SSI the same as SSDI? Here are the differences
A different category is the SSDI, that stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. It is a program managed by the Social Security Administration that provides disability benefits to individuals who have a disability and are unable to work. The eligibility criteria for SSDI are quite specific, so you have to comply to them in order to qualify.
The concept of disability, for Social Security, is understood as the situation of a person who prevents him from being able to perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA), or perform a specific job due to his medical condition. It is also considered that this disability should prevent the individual from being able to engage in the realization of a due alternative employment, and this medical condition should have persisted for at least one year, or that it is expected to last such a long time, just as it is expected that it may end the person’s life.
How long do I have to work to be eligible for SSDI?
For those under 24 years old, as little as a year and a half of work may be sufficient. However, the threshold increases with age. For retirement benefits, the equation is actually simple: You qualify when you get to 40 credits, or 10 years of working and paying Social Security taxes. While the 10 years don’t have to be consecutive, most workers reach that baseline well before they turn 62, the minimum age to draw retirement benefits.
As for 2023, individuals earn one credit for every $1,640 of income from “covered” employment or self-employment. The maximum number of credits obtainable in a year is four, requiring earnings of $6,560 or more. It is important to note that the credit amount is adjusted annually to reflect national wage trends. By paying Social Security taxes on time, you can accumulate the necessary credits for potential future disability benefits.
However, in the case of people with sufficiently severe disabilities, these credits can be difficult to achieve. The first thing that a person with a disability should meet as a requirement is to have worked semi-regularly in the period prior to his disability. This requirement changes with age as follows:
- If an individual becomes disabled either during or before the calendar quarter in which they reach the age of 24, it is necessary for them to have accumulated a minimum of six credits within the three years preceding their disability onset. These credits are equivalent to approximately a year and a half of work and are required to successfully fulfill the recent work test.
- During the period between the ages of 24 and 31, it is a requirement that you have devoted a significant portion of your time since turning 21 to engaging in covered work. To clarify, if you experienced a disability within the quarter you turned 29, it is essential that you have accumulated a minimum of 16 credits (equivalent to four years of work) in the eight years preceding that particular quarter.
- Beyond age 31, the test is five years (20 credits) of work in the decade immediately before you became disabled.
The schedule of Social Security benefit payments in 2023
Recipients who have birthdates falling between the 1st and the 10th of the month are scheduled to receive their Social Security payments on the second Wednesday of each month.
But, if your birthdate is between the 11th and the 20th of the month, you can expect to receive your Social Security payments on the third Wednesday of each month. For recipients with birthdates between the 21st and the 31st of the month, Social Security payments are scheduled to be disbursed on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Who is eligible?
To be eligible for SSI, adults must be 65 years old or older, or blind, or have a disability. They should have a limited income, including wages and pensions. There is also a limit on the resources de individual or household must have, encompassing personal belongings.
They must reside in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands (excluding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands). However, exceptions apply for children of military parent(s) stationed abroad or students temporarily residing outside the U.S., as they may still be eligible for SSI payments.
Children under 18 with physical or mental conditions that limits their daily activities for a period of 12 months or more (or that are expected to end up in death) also qualify. For the SSI in 2023, the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) is $914 per month for an eligible individual and $1,371 per month for an eligible couple that live together and apply that way.