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What's the difference between SSDI and SSI -- and do I qualify for either?

Being permanently injured or ill and unable to work is overwhelming - and frightening. The illness or injury alone is often emotionally and physically traumatic. But then there are financial burdens that can stress a person, too.

How do you provide for yourself and your family if you can't work because you are sick or ill? There are government options that can help. The federal government offers Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income. The programs are referred to as SSDI and SSI, respectively. According to the Social Security Administration, the agency that oversees both programs, a person must meet the requirements of one of the programs when applying. There are unique differences between the two.

Social Security disability insurance provides monthly benefits to disabled people who are "insured" by workers' contributions to the government's Social Security trust fund. Those contributions come out of each person's paycheck along with income tax and personal retirement contributions. They are based on earnings as required by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, according to the Social Security Administration. A person's dependents may also be eligible for benefits from your earnings record. The amount of your benefits depends on the amount of your contributions into the system.

The Supplemental Security Income program, meanwhile, is different. It provides financial assistance to elderly, blind and disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources, the Social Security Administration says. The monthly maximum federal payments for 2017 are $735 for an eligible individual, $1,103 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse and $368 for an essential person. Some states supplement SSI income to go along with the federal agency's benefit.

Both SSDI and SSI have a lengthy list of physical and mental disability requirements that must be met before the government will approve a claim. It's best to seek the help of a Social Security disability attorney who can help you with the process.

The experienced Social Security disability lawyers at Murphy & Garner, LLC have decades of experience handling disability cases and will fight for the compensation you deserve. For your free consultation call us today at (770) 537-5201, or visit us online.

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