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What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?

When times get tough for Georgia residents, it can often seem as though there is nowhere to turn for help. For instance, an inability to work because of a serious illness or injury can leave an individual with financial struggles, which can dramatically impact the person's ability to support themselves and their families.

Fortunately, help may be available in the form of Social Security benefits. However, there are different kinds of benefits available under different circumstances.

Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based program that exists to help low-income persons. Accordingly, individuals who apply for SSI benefits typically must provide information relating to their disability or age, their income, their resources and their citizenship.

Social Security disability insurance, on the other hand, is based on the work history of persons who become disabled. The method of applying for SSDI benefits may differ from the application process for SSI benefits, as do the eligibility requirements.

For instance, a person's assets are typically not part of the SSDI process. Instead, the benefits are based on the person's work record, so the determination will revolve more around the person's employment and income. The individual must establish details about their work, and whether they are capable of continuing to engage in that work with the current disability.

The Social Security Administration will then review the information and deterring whether the person qualifies as disabled. If so, the person may begin receiving benefits in the sixth full month after the person became disabled.

Ultimately, it is important that individuals understand the different kinds of benefit programs that exist, as well as the eligibility requirements for those programs. By being on top of these issues, individuals can give themselves the best chance of obtaining the assistance they need.

Source: My San Antonio, "How to apply for disability benefits through Social Security," Matthew Frankel, March 27, 2016

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