What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

SSDI is a non-needs-based Federal cash benefits program designed to provide replacement income to individuals no longer able to work due to disability. Qualifying individuals must have paid into the system through FICA wage deductions and have been determined by the Social Security Administration to be disabled. Benefit amounts vary based on age, work history, and earnings.

SSI is a needs-based program available to people with limited resources who are disabled, blind, or elderly. The amount you’re eligible to receive in benefits changes each year. For 2014, the maximum a single disabled individual can receive is $721 per month. For a married couple, the 2014 maximum is $1,082 per month.

Your eligibility for SSDI or SSI also affects your ability to receive Medicare or Medical Assistance. SSDI recipients are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B after two years of receiving SSDI payments. If you qualify for SSI, you likely also qualify for Medical Assistance. You should consult with an attorney for case-specific information.

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