Many people confuse SSD and SSI, but, while both are designed to protect individuals unable to work, they are two totally separate governmental programs and have entirely different eligibility requirements.
The primary difference between Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is that SSD is based on work credits accumulated by an individual during his or her years of employment. It is only available (with one notable exception*) to workers who have been paying into the system through the FICA taxes withdrawn from each of their paychecks.
SSI benefits, on the other hand, although also paid to individuals unable to work, are paid to eligible low-income individuals who have  never worked or  who have not earned enough work credits during their working years to qualify. Basically, SSI benefits are designed to protect poor people who are unable to work.
*If an adult (over the age of 18) was disabled before age 22 and the parent of that adult child either dies or begins receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the adult child can begin being paid SSD on his or her parent’s earning record as long as that adult child remains unmarried.
Similarities between SSD and SSI
Both programs, though independent of one another, come under the umbrella of the Social Security Administration, and both are managed by that U.S. government agency. Even though, as previously noted, the two programs have been created to protect and benefit different populations, their disability requirements for eligibility are the same. In order to qualify for either one, the individual must be fully disabled, meaning incapable of gainful employment because of severe, long-term physical or psychiatric incapacity.
Specifics of SSI in Nashville
The SSI program is strictly need-based. In other words, eligibility for benefits is determined entirely by income level and available assets and has no relation to work history. Funding for SSI comes from general taxes, not from the Social Security trust fund. In order to qualify for SSI you must be in dire financial need. SSI eligibility requires that, in addition to having a disability severe enough to prevent you from working, you have a very low income and less than $2,000 in assets. Individuals eligible for SSI are also eligible to receive Medicaid and, usually, food stamps. How much you receive in SSI benefits is determined by what state you live in, in this case Tennessee, whether you’re single or married, whether you live alone or with others and whether you have other income or not. While it may take months to receive your first SSI check, you will receive retroactive payment to the month after your SSI application through the current month.
Specifics of SSD (SSDI) in Nashville
Unlike SSI, SSD in funded through payroll taxes, meaning all workers pay for Social Security Disability Insurance through deductions from their paychecks known as FICA taxes. In order to be eligible for SSD, candidates must:
- Be older than 18 but younger than 65
- Have earned a certain number of work credits
Additional perks to SSD are that the disabled person’s spouse and dependent children are eligible to receive partial benefits, known as auxiliary benefits. Also, after receiving SSD for 2 years, the disabled individual becomes eligible for Medicare.
It should be noted that, if you qualify for SSD, the amount of your monthly benefit will be determined by your earnings record and that you will, if you meet all eligibility requirements for SSD, still have to wait 5 months before you receive your first check.
Lebanon SSI Attorney Bowman Law Office
Should you have any further questions about which type of income or benefits you are qualified for and are a resident of Lebanon, Wilson County or Tennessee, please feel free to request a consultation with SSI lawyer Jonathan Bowman.