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What is the difference between SSD and SSI?

People with disabilities from New Jersey may seek assistance from the Social Security Administration through its Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability programs. For eligibility, it is important to know the requirements and differences between these programs.

SSI pays benefits to beneficiaries who have disabilities and special financial needs. There are strict requirements for eligibility, because this program is financed through general taxes.

SSD is an entitlement for beneficiaries with a disability who worked and paid Social Security FICA taxes. It allows early access to benefits when an individual becomes disabled.

Specifically, SSI eligibility is based upon a claimant having low income and assets. Single recipients must have assets below $2,000 and couples are limited to $3,000. Certain assets, such as a primary residence, are excluded from calculating eligibility. Work history is not relevant.

Dependent benefits are not granted. Benefits are paid to individuals over 65, have a disability or who are blind. SSI-related benefits are paid once a claimant is approved. Beneficiaries are also eligible for Medicaid.

SSD is provided to beneficiaries who received a specific number of credits for years worked. They are eligible for Medicare after receiving SSD benefits for two years. Beneficiaries had to be disabled for five months before receiving benefits. Assets are not reviewed for eligibility. The program does not grant benefits to individuals over 65 who are not disabled but who are eligible to receive Social Security benefits.

Both programs provide benefits for beneficiaries with blindness or a disability for payment of their basic needs. SSI, however, provides flexible benefits dependent on needs. SSD calculations are based upon a beneficiaries previous FICA payments.

SSA processes the applications in these programs differently. An attorney can assist claimants with submitting the correct information and appealing a denial.

Source: Disabilityguide.com, "SSDI or SSI: What makes these programs different?" Accessed May 5, 2017

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