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SSDI vs SSI: What You Need to Know


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Social Security provides the safety net many people rely on when a disability prevents them from working or earning an income as you did before. While the Social Security system is a defining American social insurance program, it is not always an easy one to navigate. This is especially true for disabled individuals who may just be starting to explore Social Security in order to secure the benefits they need, but may not be sure where to start. Often, our Detroit Social Security disability attorneys at Goodman Acker, P.C. hear from clients who don’t know if they should be pursing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

As a nationally regarded law firm that has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for the injured and the disabled since 1994, Goodman Acker, P.C. understands that pursing Social Security benefits following a disability can be an overwhelming process. This is why our attorneys take the necessary time to fully explain how these programs work, what rights our clients have, and how we can help them take the appropriate steps to securing much needed benefits.

To help local residents gain a better understanding of Social Security Disability, we have put together some information about the differences between SSDI and SSI.

  • SSDI – Social Security Disability Insurance is what most people refer to when they say “Social Security Disability.” This benefit is similar to an insurance program, and you are eligible for SSDI benefits when you are disabled and when you have paid Social Security taxes while working in the past. In order to collect SSDI benefits, you must have worked enough and recently enough to qualify. Social Security Disability benefits for most people are handled at national processing centers.

  • SSI – Supplemental Security Income is a federal welfare program. As such, there is a limit on the amount of "assets" you may have in order to receive any payment at all. Also, the monthly amount of SSI benefits depends on your income from all sources, including the amount of your Social Security Disability benefits. All SSI benefits are processed at your local Social Security Office. Benefits of those people who are over age 55 are processed in regional payment centers.

While both SSDI and SSI require a person to be disabled in order to receive benefits, these benefits are calculated differently depending on the program. When distinguishing between the two, it is important to remember that Supplement Security Income is a need-based program, and requires that you have limited assets and limited income. Social Security Disability Insurance, on the other hand, is funded through payroll taxes, which means that you must have paid enough and long enough into the system through payroll taxes during the time you were employed.

At Goodman Acker, P.C., our legal team helps disabled individuals fully explore their options for securing the appropriate benefits and maximizing those benefits as much as possible. Aside from helping clients determine their level of disability, we also help determine what program is best for their situation, and guide them step-by-step through the process. Our focus always remains on personalized service, handling of all legal work, and a goal to secure the most favorable outcome possible.

If you are unsure as to what program to pursue benefits under following a disability, or have questions regarding your case and what our firm can do to help, contact us today to speak with a member of our legal team during a FREE consultation.