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Distinguishing SSDI from SSI

Missouri residents should be aware that the Social Security Administration provides two kinds of benefits. Even though Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and supplement security income (SSI) can both be used to supplement the income of people who are prevented from working because of a medical disability, there are some key differences in the two programs.

SSDI is available for individuals who have contributed to the system by having their income taxed. SSI, on the other hand, is a safety net for people who do not meet the requirements of SSDI and have limited resources. Those who used to work but are no longer able to do so because of a mental or physical disability may qualify for SSDI. SSI is used to provide assistance to people with insufficient income who have not earned the credits required to qualify for SSDI.

Funding for SSDI is obtained from the payroll taxes paid by the self-employed, workers and employers. As with the retirement benefits issued by Social Security, the only people who qualify for SSDI benefits are those who have made enough payroll tax contributions to have accumulated enough credits.

In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, individuals must have earned at least 20 quarters of coverage within the last decade as well as be fully insured. Eligible recipients also must have a physical or mental disability that is expected to last at least a year or until their death. In addition to being available to blind and disabled workers, the benefits also are payable to the employees' offspring and remaining spouses and adults that have had disabilities since they were children.

An attorney that is knowledgeable about social security disability law may assist individuals with unresolved legal issues regarding their benefits. A lawyer may explain federal regulations and medical requirements. Litigation may be used to appeal denied Social Security disability benefits.

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