top of page

Disabled and Unable to Work? An Introduction to Disability Benefits

A Guide to SSDI vs. SSI Benefits

Certain injuries and medical conditions can leave a person unable to work. If you are in this situation, you may be wondering what options you have. Navigating the area of disability benefits can be difficult and confusing. However, the most important thing to realize when you are unable to work, is that may be entitled to monthly disability benefits. Social Security administers two programs that provide “disability benefits” for individuals unable to earn a living. The following are some of the basics that will help you understand more about these two programs:

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

SSDI is a Social Security managed program that pays monthly benefits to any eligible person who becomes physically or mentally disabled and is unable to work. SSDI is an employee-funded program. Employees pay into the program when FICA is automatically withheld from their paychecks. FICA, which refers to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax, is a tax that in part funds SSDI. To be approved for SSDI benefits, a person must not only meet the definition of being disabled, but he or she must have also worked long enough to become eligible. For each year an employee works he or she receives four work credits. The number of work credits a person needs to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on his or her age at the time he or she applies for benefits. Also, a certain number of those work credits must have occurred in the last 5 years. If a person has not worked long enough to obtain the number of work credits needed, then he or she is not eligible for SSDI benefits. The monthly amount of benefits a person can receive is based on his or her earnings.

What is Supplement Security Income (SSI)?

SSI is a need-based Social Security program that affords monthly benefits to people who are unable to work due to disability, blindness or age. To qualify for the program a person must have little to no income. The monthly benefits amount is designed to provide for a person’s most basic needs. For 2015, the maximum monthly amount of benefits a person can receive is $733 per individual or $1,100 for a couple.

How are SSI and SSDI different?

While both SSI and SSDI are Social Security programs that provide monthly benefits to persons who have a disability or other impairment which renders them unable to work, the similarities pretty much end there. SSI is a need-based program where a person must have little to no assets to qualify. While SSDI on the other hand, does not have any asset or income restrictions and the amount a person can receive per month is much higher than with SSI. Although, it is possible for a person to receive both SSDI and SSI if the person’s monthly SSDI benefit is lower than maximum SSI benefit amount.

If you are injured or are suffering from an impairment that makes you unable to hold employment, then you need to talk to a skilled Southern California Disability Attorney. Attorney Jane Cervantes handles both SSI and SSDI cases and understands how to navigate clients through all parts of the disability application process. To determine if you qualify for disability benefits, you need to talk with Southern California Disability Attorney Jane Cervantes as soon as possible. Call The Law Offices of Jane Cervantes today at (909) 626-3595 to schedule an appointment or phone consultation. The Law Offices of Jane Cervantes is conveniently located in the Village of Claremont and serves clients in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

bottom of page