What is the Difference Between Social Security Insurance (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD)?

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Social Security and Disability are similar in many ways. Both are forms of federal government assistance designed to help people with disabilities make sure that they have the income they need to survive. But while both programs offer assistance, they have different ways in which they provide it. For example, how are SSI and Disability benefits calculated? Here are some things to know about the differences between SSI and Disability.social security disability claim form

The most significant difference between SSI and SSD is that SSI is based on age/disability, whereas SSD is based on long-term disability. The Social Security Administration sets the level of social security benefits to be paid out each month. This level, called the maximum benefit, is what determines how much money the person will receive. That maximum benefit amount changes every year as a result of inflation. So, although a disabled person may qualify for disability benefits based on his or her present wages, that same person may qualify for a much lower maximum benefit if his or her disability is due to an injury from a work-related accident.

When people apply for social security disability insurance, they must list their disability as being “medically disabling.” But what is the meaning of “medically disabling?” To put it simply, it is when a person’s ability to live on his or her own moves from Stage I to Stage III. At Stage I, people who are suffering from a disabling medical condition are still able to function on their own. However, their condition limits their ability to do so. From Stage III, the limitations begin to shift.

SSI and disability benefits are paid to the applicant once he or she reaches the maximum benefit level. Once that happens, however, the person must wait a specified period before beginning to receive disability payments. SSI, unlike many other types of federal assistance, does not have a waiting period for SSI recipients to begin receiving payments. So the confusion over the difference between SSI and disability benefits is not merely a semantic issue.

Does SSI Pay for Medical Coverage and Long-Term Care?

Another common question concerning social security and disability is whether or not it pays for medical coverage and long-term care costs. The short answer to this question is that yes, SSI will cover long-term care costs. SSI is jointly funded by the federal government and each state and is designed to be a level program. There are no premium payments associated with either Medicaid or private health insurance plans. In general terms, the cost of care is limited to the rate of inflation plus a reasonable percentage of a person’s income. The Social Security Administration has detailed the types of services that are covered under its various programs, and these include home health care, medical and dental care, nursing home care, and Medicaid programs.

For the most part, once a person reaches the limit for SSI benefits, he or she will no longer be able to qualify for disability benefits. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. SSI will pay benefits for certain long-term, major medical conditions that can last for several months or years if the person suffers from these conditions for that amount of time. Also, a person who was injured on the job can claim disability benefits for up to a year after the injury, as long as the person can meet the requirements.

When considering your long-term care options, it is best to do a bit of research to find out which option is best for you. The SSI and disability benefits that you receive may seem very similar, but there are significant differences between the two. SSD benefits are designed to help you survive in the event of a long-term illness or disability, and SSI benefits are intended to provide you with a means of earning an income during the later years of your life. Understanding the difference between the two programs is key to enjoying the best long-term care benefits.

Qualifying for SSI Benefits

The only way to know if you will qualify to receive Social Security benefits is to know what qualifications are required. When you are applying for benefits the number one thing an SSA worker will look at is your work history. Many people try to qualify for benefits but do not have work records available to the SSA. Unfortunately, this can lead to disqualification for people who have no work history. There are other qualifications that must be met before one can become qualified for benefits.

Some qualifications required by the Social Security Administration for benefits include working for a specific company or union for a specified period of time or having a job that pays at least the minimum wage. Another qualification required for many benefits programs is having a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some disability insurance companies require proof of work experience and education as well. These qualifications are listed on an individualized application that is filed with the local office.

One thing you should know about filing an application with the SSA is you will have to wait a while for the results. The SSA has a vast bureaucracy, and each case is processed slowly. Usually, it will take about 6 months to a year to be approved, but this is only standard. The longer it takes to process your claim the higher your chances of receiving a check. This is another reason why it is important to have as much work experience as possible when applying for SSI.

Qualifying for SSD Benefits

There are numerous qualifications for disability benefits. These include long-term sickness, illness, or death in the family; war or national service; labor or professional skills acquired through training or through working in a specific field; and physical disability that is related to any of these causes. In order to qualify for any of these benefits, one must work for at least a year in a job that is considered “beneficial” under the guidelines of Social Security. However, there are certain jobs that are considered “disability-friendly,” and it’s important to understand that jobs are which and how to apply for them.

The first qualification is that you must have been working in the United States for a certain period of time. A few years is called the maximum period of work for Social Security benefits. If you have reached this maximum limit, you may be able to get additional benefits to add to your disability payments, but you will still need to work for a certain amount of time in order to reach the maximum benefit amount. Once you reach the maximum benefit level, you no longer have to work under Social Security guidelines. This is known as continued work credits.

Another important qualification is work experience. You must be able to prove that you have a minimum of five years of work experience, as well as the experiences must be related to working in the United States. Examples of work experience include being employed by a construction company for at least two years. Also, a doctor or nurse practitioner who is licensed in the state that you live in can qualify as well. This person must be working as a qualified medical technician or registered nurse at the time of your application. This experience is not required to apply for long-term disability but is very helpful.

Hiring a Social Security Benefits Attorney

We understand that the process of filing for SSA disability can be complex, frustrating, and downright worrisome. Whether you are seeking Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Survivor Benefits, or other types of benefits in any number of available programs, we want to help you.

Our Florida Social Security disability attorneys have decades of experience helping applicants file their applications or put forth strong appeals. If you want help securing the disability benefits you or a loved one needs to meet the cost of living expenses, then you can speak with an experienced Social Security disability attorney in Florida for absolutely free at one of our four Treasure Coast offices.

Don’t wait any longer than necessary. Save yourself a trip to our office by scheduling a free virtual consultation. Simply contact us online or call us at (866) 930-6435 to privately discuss your case right over the phone or in a secure virtual meeting. 

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