SSA, SSI, SSDI – The Alphabet Soup of Disability Benefits

At Clements, Taylor, Butkovich & Cohen, L.P.A., Co., we are frequently asked to distinguish the difference between SSI and Social Security.

Not all workers have the benefit of an employer that provides disability insurance as part of their benefits package. When you’re injured on the job or have a work-related illness that prevents you from performing your job at the appropriate level, you may need to seek benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

In addition to standard social security benefits for retired workers, the SSA provides Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is a payroll tax funded program that provides income to disabled people who are unable to work—for the short or long-term. SSDI benefits are only granted following an arduous review process to determine disability. SSDI applicants usually apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at the same time they file for SSDI.

SSI is different from other social security benefits in that it is provided to people living in poverty who also are disabled, blind, and/or over 65 years of age. In many instances, individuals receiving SSI also receive or are eligible to receive other social security benefits, Medicaid, and food stamps. Children who are blind or have other disabilities can receive SSI until they turn 18; at that time, they are evaluated to determine what benefits they should receive as an adult.

These “safety net” programs are designed to help protect people who would otherwise not receive assistance when they became disabled. Like standard social security benefits, the SSI program pays recipients once a month.

If you’re considering filing an application to receive SSI, here’s some additional information about the program and its requirements:

• SSI benefits are not based on your previous work history.
• In most states, SSI recipients also can get Medicaid to pay for their medical care as well as food stamps.
• SSI recipients must be blind, disabled, and 65 or older with limited financial resources.
• To receive SSI, you must be a U.S. resident, a U.S. citizen or national, or in a particular category of non-citizens.

Whether your employer provides disability benefits or you’re seeking government assistance while you’re disabled, don’t risk the possibility of being denied benefits. The social security disability lawyers in the Cincinnati office of Clements, Taylor, Butkovich & Cohen, L.P.A., Co. can assist you in determining your eligibility for disability programs offered through the United States Social Security Administration.

Contact one of our social security lawyers at 513.721.6500, or use our convenient web form.