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

Phoenix disability attorneys help Arizona clients understand benefits issues

Suffering a debilitating injury or illness is difficult enough, but obtaining the government-provided benefits you deserve might present another obstacle during an already tough time. The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck PLLC represents a diverse group of Arizona disability claimants and gives clients clear explanations on key issues, such as the differences between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). When you know what purpose each of these programs serves and what relief you might be entitled to, you can make smart choices about how to proceed.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

Though both programs are operated by the Social Security Administration and are designed to assist disabled claimants, there are sharp distinctions between SSDI and SSI. Simply put, SSDI is a type of insurance coverage available to applicants who have earned benefits based on how much they’ve contributed through payroll taxes. On the other hand, SSI is a federal assistance program that helps disabled people who are in serious financial distress.

What is SSDI?

Our Phoenix Social Security Disability Lawyers deliver comprehensive counsel on behalf of Arizona residents who seek the SSDI benefits that are often crucial to their family’s financial well-being. We advise clients on each aspect of these claims, including:

  • Eligibility — A person’s eligibility for SSDI depends on the amount of work credits they have compiled over the relevant period. You can earn up to four credits per year. Typically, you can receive benefits if you have at least 40 work credits, 20 of which were accumulated within the prior 10 years. Adjustments are made for younger people who might not have had enough time to amass enough work credits.
  • Qualifying conditions — SSDI is for serious physical impairments that are expected to keep someone from working for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration classifies specific qualifying medical conditions into 14 categories. Should you have a question about where your case falls, we’ll examine the facts and identify the relevant criteria.
  • Benefits — There is no set benefit amount for SSDI recipients. Your payment depends largely on your income and how much you contributed in payroll taxes. There is a monthly maximum payment that is adjusted on an annual basis. For 2021, the limit is $3,148.

Payments typically last until the claimant is able to resume work or reaches retirement age. After reviewing the facts in your situation, we can assess how your claim will be handled.

What is SSI?

Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that certain disabled individuals can access regardless of their work history. These funds are provided to people who lack the means to support themselves financially due to disability, blindness or the fact that they are at least 65 years old. Single files cannot have more than $2,000 in available assets and the limit for couples is $3,000. Our attorneys can advise you regarding SSI eligibility based on these factors, as well as the income limits set by the Social Security Administration.

How can someone take advantage of these programs?

Even when a disabled person satisfies the requirements for SSDI or SSI, it is far from automatic that the needed payments will follow. Both programs reject more than 60 percent of initial claimants. Our firm eases the process of applying for disability payments by explaining the standards for each type of relief, assembling the necessary medical evidence and preparing the filing the documents in a clear, accurate manner.

Contact a knowledgeable Phoenix SSDI and SSI lawyer for a free initial consultation

The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck PLLC in Phoenix represents Arizona clients who are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. If your claim has been denied or you have questions about your legal options, please call 602-805-0577 or contact us online.