A question we’re asked a lot is when to file a claim for SSDI and when to file for SSI. Understanding the distinction between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is crucial for individuals in North Carolina seeking disability benefits. At Kellum Law Firm, we aim to shed light on the factors that influence the decision to file for SSDI or SSI, ensuring you make informed choices that align with your unique circumstances.
1. Medical Eligibility:
- SSDI: Is primarily based on your work history and contributions to Social Security. To qualify for SSDI, you should have accumulated sufficient work credits.
- SSI: Not contingent on work history but focuses on financial need. It is designed to assist low-income individuals with limited resources.
2. Financial Eligibility:
- SSDI: Financial need is not a determining factor. Eligibility hinges on your work history and contributions to Social Security through payroll taxes.
- SSI: Designed for individuals with limited income and resources. Financial need is a central consideration.
3. Work Credits:
- SSDI: Requires a specific number of work credits earned through Social Security payroll taxes. The number of credits needed depends on your age at the time of disability.
- SSI: Work credits are not applicable. Instead, eligibility is based on financial need.
4. Monthly Benefit Amount:
- SSDI: The monthly benefit is calculated based on your average earnings over your working years, with a maximum amount set by the Social Security Administration.
- SSI: The benefit amount is set by federal law and may be adjusted based on your income, living arrangements, and other factors.
5. Back Pay:
- SSDI: Entitles you to retroactive benefits up to one year before your application date, contingent on when the disability began.
- SSI: Back pay may be available from the date of application, but no earlier.
6. Medicaid Eligibility:
- SSDI: Typically, recipients become eligible for Medicare after a 24-month waiting period from the onset of their disability (check your specific circumstances with an experienced SSDI Attorney).
- SSI: Often automatically qualifies you for Medicaid, providing healthcare coverage.
7. Waiting Period:
- SSDI: Involves a five-month waiting period from the onset of disability before benefits commence. (check your specific circumstances with an experienced SSDI Attorney).
- SSI: Benefits typically begin the month after you apply.
8. Appeals Process:
- SSDI: Involves four levels of appeal, starting with reconsideration and progressing to an administrative law judge hearing, Appeals Council review, and federal court appeal if necessary.
- SSI: Follows a similar appeals process to SSDI, including reconsideration, a hearing, Appeals Council review, and the option for a federal court appeal.
Navigating the complexities of SSDI and SSI requires careful consideration of your unique circumstances. At Kellum Law Firm, we’re here to guide North Carolina residents through the decision-making process, ensuring they file for the right disability benefits to secure their financial and medical well-being.