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What is Supplemental Security Income Disability—also known as SSI—and how is it different from Social Security Disability Insurance, known as SSDI or SSD?

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See how Supplemental Security Income, aka SSI, differs from Social Security, how to get both SSDI and SSI, and how to apply for SSI disability.

ssi-ssdi

Watch the Video: "What are Supplemental Security Income Disability Payments?"

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI

Supplemental Security Income, SSI for short, is a Federal needs-based assistance program for people who are either disabled or over age sixty-five. The Social Security Administration administers both Social Security and SSI Disability, but some of the requirements for SSI eligibility are different from those for Social Security.

SSDI requires a certain number of work credits and payment of Social Security taxes. In most cases the SSI program does not require work credits. Only noncitizens in a certain immigration status must have work credits to get SSI. The SSI program, unlike SSDI, requires family assets and income to fall below a certain limit. It also considers living arrangements, including whether or not you are living in an institution, in determining eligibility and payment amount.

Another way that SSI is different from Social Security is that disabled children under age eighteen can receive SSI disability payments if their income and the assets and income of parents with whom they live are below the prescribed limit.

Yet another difference is that if you are approved for Social Security Disability for more than twenty-four months, you will be eligible for Medicare. SSI does not provide access to Medicare; but if you are approved for SSI, in most states you will be eligible for Medicaid in the first month of SSI eligibility.

SSI Definitions of Disability for Adults and Children

The definition of disability for adults who apply for SSI is the same as for Social Security disability. Our article “What Is Disability According to Social Security Disability Law?” explains the definition. The requirements for a disabled child under age eighteen are somewhat different. Social Security will determine a child is disabled if he or she “has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”

Determining Eligibility for SSI

Because there are many factors involved in assessing financial eligibility for SSI, the most reliable way to find out whether you or your child is financially eligible for SSI disability payments is to contact the Social Security Administration or a Social Security Disability lawyer to file an SSI application. For more information about SSI, see our articles “What Requirements Do I Have to Meet for SSI Disability Eligibility?” and “When I Apply for SSI Disability, Why Does Social Security Require Me to Apply for Other Benefits?”

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86 Comments

  1. Martina Hernandez says:

    if I qualify for SSD and SSI can I get back pay for both programs?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Martina,

      If you qualify for SSD and SSI you can get back pay from both programs; however, not duplicate pay for overlapping periods. For example, you might get SSI for the first five months you were disabled, which SSD does not cover, but not get SSI for any later months. If your SSD benefit is less that the maximum SSI benefit, you might get SSD and reduced SSI. If your SSI is paid first, then your SSD would be reduced by the amount of any SSI paid for overlapping periods.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  2. austenZ says:

    hi kay, i have the same question. i won at my disability hearing a bunch of strange acronyms which i dont know the meaning of. so far i have gotten the first of several ssi payments installations, but i was told i would get backpay for 3 yrs of disability. i recieved really confusing information about it in a letter and have called twice the hotline and still have not got any clear answers as to whether im getting a diability backpay check or not.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Austen,

      Unfortunately, you have not provided enough information for me to offer you any solid reply. If you have gotten a letter and have an attorney or someone else who is good at reading business correspondence, I suggest that you have that person go over the correspondence with you. Or, if you live close to a Social Security office, you could take the letter into the office with you and have them explain the acronyms and the letter in general. (You may be getting monthly payments plus one or more installments on your back pay. If your benefits are Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then it is likely that your back pay for three years will be paid in three installments, each six months apart.)

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • matt says:

        Hi Kay..
        I have a similar question.
        I won my ssdi case at the ALJ hearing stage. After 5 months i received around 8k and the accompanying letter stated that roughly 10.5k was held back for SSI because i qualified for SSI and could have been receiving SSI benefits during this time.
        I understand you can’t answer anything about my case specifically, but in general, would that mean at some point i COULD receive part or all of the held back money or is it gone forever because i COULD have gotten it in the past, but didn’t?
        I’ve called (of course) but no matter who i got on the phone, they couldn’t even give me a “probably” one way or another.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Matt,

          It sounds as if your Social Security Disability (SSD) back pay was reduced for SSI offset. This means that you should be getting an SSI back payment; however, if the SSI amount due is $10,500, it most likely will be released in three installments six months apart. If the Social Security Administration has not asked you for a financial update sometime after the ALJ approved you, I suggest that you call your local Social Security office (not the national call center) and ask for an appointment to provide whatever information is needed to release your SSI back pay.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • carolyn garrett says:

            I recieve ssi benifit in july 23 i will recieve ssd will my ssi stop and i will just get ssd or do i get both. Also i should get survivors benifit on my husband when will i find out about that im really confused i cant live on the monthly income they give me for ssd rent.lights is more than my check

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Carolyn,

            For me to respond, I need to know the amount of your Social Security Disability benefit before withholding for taxes or Medicare premiums, if any, and also whether you have other income.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  3. Brittany says:

    Hi Kay I had signed up for SSI last but they denied me but I didn’t appeal do I signed up for it again and they did a phone interview do you think I would get approved this second time cause I have anxiety and anti depression and wen I be around a lot of people I gets real nervous…

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brittany,

      I wish that I could predict whether you will be approved for benefits, but unfortunately I can’t.

      If you are denied on your second claim and you believe that you are unable to perform any kind of work on a regular basis, then be sure to hire an attorney who is knowledgeable in Social Security Disability law. You can reach a good Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay anything up front, and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can be paid and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before sending the balance to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  4. Haydee says:

    Hi Kay,

    I was looking for some information on SSI and found this Website…Thank God! I have a few questions about SSI. I’m 54 yrs old and been on SSI since 1996. My husband died in 2007, and we were separated for a few years at the time of his dead. I wanted to know if I can get his SS instead of SSI. The amount of his SS is like $150-$200 less of what I receive from SSI. I’m just afraid that the SSI program might soon disappears with the financial crisis. On the other hand, having SS instead of SSI will give me the liberty to fly to PR and stay indefinitely in the event my parents need me due to their age and medical condition. How long can I stay out of of the country without losing my benefits anyway? I was reading on their Website something about it, but quite frankly, I couldn’t understand. I don’t know if I can stay out of the country for some time and then return and start getting my checks back again or not.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I hope you can reply to it as soon as you can. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Haydee

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Haydee,

      If you and your husband were still married when he died, you can apply for Social Security Disabled Widow’s benefits. In fact, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program requires you to apply for all other benefits that you can receive.

      If your widow’s benefit is less than you are due on SSI, the SSI program will supplement your widow’s benefits. Stated another way, SSI will pay you the difference between the amount you would be eligible for if you did not have the widow’s benefit and the widow’s benefit. For example, if now you are eligible for the $710 maximum benefit and your widow’s benefit was $500, your SSI payment would be $210.

      SSI benefits stop after you have been out of the U.S. for thirty days and you must be back in residence in the U.S. for thirty days before they start again.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  5. Krisha says:

    Hi Kay,

    I have a quick question.. Does the SSI federal benefits fall back a month? For example: if my daughter received her SSI benefits October 1st would those benefits be for the month of October or for the month of September?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Krisha,

      SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is paid for the month in which it is received. The October 1 payment is for October.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  6. will i be denied for social security benefits if i return to work after i have applied

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Charles,

      Whether or not you will be denied if you return to work while your claim is pending depends on how long you have been disabled before returning to work and how much you will be earning and whether or not you will have medical recovery or you are trying to work despite your condition. When did you become disabled and when are you considering returning to work? Will you be grossing $1,040 or more monthly if you return to work? Have you had a major improvement in the condition for which you are claiming disability?

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  7. Dolores says:

    I applied for SSI on 4/23/12 and was denied 60 days later. I then filed for a hearing in Nov.2012. During this time frame I did not work and had major surgery. In June 2013, I hired an atty and I just received a date for my hearing in Jan 2014. Now I read all the post about back pay and still can’t figure out how much I will receive. I have been unable to work since late 2011. My question is upon the ALJ approval of my case will I receive 12, 24 or 36 months of back pay? When I inquired at the local office no one could help me. I am in foreclosure and need to make a decision if I’m eligible for a large ant I may be able to save my home.
    I applied originally for ssdi and was told via letter that I didn’t qualify due to lack of credits. I’ve been working since 1974 I’m 49 now so I’ve paid into the system. My next question is how do I get partial ssdi and ssi? I’m short just a few credits but this seems unfair that I may receive $710 as opposed to my SSA printout which states if I become fully disabled my benefit would be $1696 a month. I also have a minor child he should also receive a benefit from my work history upon approval. But he has a separate ssi application pending also. Please provide alil guidance as to how to get my maximum benefits under all programs
    . Thank you

    • Dolores says:

      Just rechecked my file and here are the corrected dates concerning my application:
      Apr 2012 filed orig appl for ssdi denied
      missed aapeal deadline
      Aug 2012 new appl filed for ssi
      Sept 2012 denied then filed appeal for hearing
      in Nov 2012. Recd ltr Oct 2013 setting date of hearing for Jan 2014.
      Hope these exact dates will assist you in answering my questions.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Dolores,

        The response I left for you a few minutes ago is correct except that your SSI back pay will go back to August 2012, not April 2012. You will not be paid based on the April 2012 application, even if it was for SSI also, because you did not appeal in time.

        Best regards,

        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Delores,

      It is unfortunate that you became disabled at a time when you were not insured for Social Security Disability, but there is no way to get partial Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on almost being insured. To receive SSDI you have to be fully insured and currently insured. Currently insured means having half (twenty) of the forty credits possible in the ten years immediately before you became disabled. At age 49, fully insured means earning forty credits in any period of time. (If you are fully insured, you will be able to receive Social Security Retirement when you reach retirement age.)

      It would be a good idea to look carefully at the earnings record you mention having. Look to see if each year seems like it has the right amount of earnings shown. If you still have your tax records, compare the earnings records with your W-2 forms to be sure all your earnings are posted, including the year you became disabled.

      If you are approved, SSI benefits will be paid for all months you were financially eligible back to your application in April 2012. Large retroactive SSI payments are usually paid in three installments six months apart. If you are approved, when you meet with Social Security to update your financial information, tell them that you are on the verge of losing your home and ask that they release the full retroactive payment so that you can catch up your mortgage payments. They do sometimes release full back pay in cases of hardship.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  8. Sherry Morrisette says:

    Dear Kay
    Please tell me if I am a rep payee ($710) for my disabled grandchild, will I still get a full SSI benefit they say I’m approved for-minus my pension i receive??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sherry,

      Your being representative payee for your grandson will not affect your SSI eligibility. The money you receive for him is his and you are charged with using it for his shelter, food, clothing, educational, medical, and other needs.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  9. Sherry Morrisette says:

    Thank you. I have been doing just that for almost 13 years as he has been on SSI since age 3..,I’m happy to say he is quite an artist winning a college scholarship at age 9 for art..winning art supplies and art classes and his work displayed in the university library. His disability had not deterred his talent.

  10. Robin S. Hoppes says:

    Hello Kay,
    I have sent my review request to the Appeals Council, and was waiting. The ALJ never looked at or discussed my diagnosed Depression, Anxiety, and declining mental health issues, I now have moved and am being treated at a new facility in a new county of California. Aside of the CHF, COPD,Stage 4 Kidney disease, and chronic back pains( from a broken back) I have now been diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and feel lucky to be alive. I will be having open heart surgery to “maybe” correct this condition in the next couple months. My physiatrist , who is also an MD has personally contacted the appeals council to advise them as to my condition, and they have told her that my case has been moved to the “critical” file and will be expedited. Can you give me a little more info on what this means. Thanks for reading either way, Robin

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robin,

      The information the appeals council gave your doctor means that your claim will be processed before some others.It is not possible to know how many other claims are in the critical file or how quickly your claim will be reviewed. Presumably, it would be faster than usual. The usual wait can be up to two years.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  11. Virginia says:

    I first applied for my disability in Sept. 27 2011 and I have been denied 4 times. I got a lawyer in January 2013 and was still denied a fifth time I’m now age 43. The lawyer filed for a hearing on June 2013 I would like to know when will I have a hearing date sechduled. Back in Sept 2012 I had to do a whole new application over, thats when I was not able to do my job anymore. And how far will they go back if I approved.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Virginia,

      It can take as much as a year to get a hearing date.

      If you are approved based on your September 2012 application and the application was for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), benefits would begin September 2012, the month of application. If the September 2012 application was for Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI), benefits will begin the first month after five full calendar months of disablility with a limit of twelve months of retroactive pay.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  12. Renee says:

    I am very confused at this point! I was approved in September formSSDI with an disability date of March 2011. My local office called and told me of the approval and had me come in to do an SSI application because they said I would qualify for both. They did not tell me I could deny the SSI.

    I received a 2100 payment from SSI on October 23rd. My monthly payment began on November 1st. I called the 800 number last week and was told the payment center was waiting on a response from the local office in order to release my SSDI backpay. So I called the local office and she said there was another calculation that needed to be made and that she would do it. The payment center received the response on November 26th.

    Since October I have gotten two letters one saying that SSI owed me about 16k and one saying that SSDI owed me about 18k. Do I have to wait for SSI To pay out before SSDI pays. I know that SSI does not due a lump sum and SSDI does and I need the lump sum now for bills and Meds. I know that SSI payments are taken out of my SSDI payment but I am just confused about what I am going to receive and when.

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Renee,

      It sounds as if you have an accurate overview of your situation and of the procedures that are followed when you have both an SSI claim and a Social Security claim. The SSDI and SSI back pay will be coordinated so that you do not receive duplicate disability benefits for the same months. SSI will be paid first. The retroactive SSI benefits will be paid in three installments six months apart, unless you can establish that a hardship will occur if you receive only one-third at a time. The Social Security back pay will be reduced by the SSI back pay and any remaining retroactive benefits will be paid in one lump sum. As soon as your Social Security starts (it appears to be above the SSI income limit), SSI payments will stop.

      You may be wondering why pursue both claims. First, it is possible that you will be paid SSI for some months for which no Social Security was payable. Second, sometimes SSI eligibiity affords automatic Medicaid eligibility. If that is the case, under some circumstances, Medicaid will pay unpaid medical bills for some past months.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  13. barry says:

    I recently won my disability claim but only for ssi..I did receive my official letter stating that the decision was-fully favorable. is ssi based on past work history? is their any way to know what my monthly benefits will be? I also have an 18 yr old son living with me. full time college student. will he be eligible to draw anything?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Barry,

      Apologies for the late response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are for the disabled person only, not for dependents. The maximum SSI benefit in 2014 is $721.00 monthly. The actual amount you receive will depend on your countable income including in-kind (free) shelter and food.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  14. Bill Wright says:

    Kay: I am assisting my grandson, age 23, with his application to receive Social Security Benefits under the SSDI provision. He most likely became disabled at age 20 and his father died December 31, 2011. He went before a Adm. Law Judge on October 31, 2013 after being initially denied and then appealing his denial. We have good indications the ALJ will approve him for S.S. payments. My question is related to “how many months of back pay will he likely receive”? Can we assume it will go no further back than December 31, 2011 (date his father died)? If so, does the 5 months exclusion began at Dec. 31, 2011 or would it began when he was age 20 (the assumed year he became disabled). Thanks for a reply.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bill,

      If his father was not disabled and entitle to benefits before his death, your grandson’s benefits will begin December 2011 (assuming that your grandson applied for benefits before December 1, 2013). The five-month waiting period does not apply to disabled adult children. If he applied after November 30, 2012, then benefits will begin twelve months before the date of application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  15. Justin L. says:

    I am not sure if this is the place to put my question or not. I am currently employed making above the SGA amount that you can make. However, if I quit my job, I wont be able to make any of my bills. When looking at my earning statement, I seen that the amount of SSD that I would get is under what I would need to get my bills paid as well. Do you get both SSD and SSI at same time if you are approved for both? If you show that you are working, however that you have a spotty job track record because of your disabilities then does that help you in your application that you werent able to hold down a job due to your disability? I am very confused on what I should do on everything. Is there a good way to chat with someone or email someone to be able to see if there is really any reason to apply or if I would just be wasting my time?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Justin,

      Apologies for the delayed response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      You will need to reduce your work to below substantial gainful activities (SGA) level to have a chance of being approved. Perhaps if you were to continue to work part time, your part-time work (below SGA) and your Social Security benefits would be sufficient to meet your expenses.

      As far as assessing whether you might be approved given your medical condition, I would suggest talking with your physician, telling him or her about your problems on the job, to get a medical opinion. It would also be helpful to discuss your medical condition and work history with a Social Security attorney, such as one that can be reached at Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010.

      One last thing to consider is that Social Security Disability benefits do not start until the sixth full calendar month of disability. (SSI starts the month after the month of application.) Typically claim processing takes from two to five months.

      If you decide to apply and are approved, you will get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) only if your countable assets are below the limit ($2,000 for a single person, $3,000 for a couple–note your home and one car are among assets that don’t count) and if your countable income is below $741 a month. (Part of your work earnings do not count.) If you receive Social Security in any month and it is above that amount you would not be eligible for SSI in that month.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  16. Sherry Morrisette says:

    Dear Ms. Kay,
    I have been approved for partial SSI because I recieve a pension but was denied SSDI because in part my points ran out in 2011..I considered appealing because I was disabled before my points ran out but tbe attorneys I contacted wouldn’t consider my case because I was awarded the SSI. The 60 days have run out..if I reapply, with an attorney(hopefully) will my SSI be suspended or cut off? Is it a good idea to pursue my SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sherry,

      Apologies for the delayed response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will not be suspended or terminated if you again apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI). If you receive SSDI, your total income may cause termination of your SSI.

      When you apply again for SSDI, you need to claim a different disability date (one that is prior to the date you were last insured). If you claim the same date as you did in your prior claim, your claim could be denied automatically because you would be claiming the same thing for which your appeals period has run out. You need to gather as much documentation as you can about your condition prior to the date on which you were no longer insured–medical records, statements from employers if you were having trouble on the job, and anything else you can to try to prove that you were disabled far enough in the past.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  17. Jeff says:

    Hi. I have been receiving ssi since 2005 then I met the requirements to receive ssd in 2009 and I’m just now finding out about it. Last month I received more benefits and medicare. Do you think I’m going to receive back pay from all the years I was supposed to be collecting ssd?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jeff,

      You do not say how it was discovered that you were eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) in 2009. If Social Security contacted you about applying for SSD, then the retroactive benefits could possibly go back to 2009, but they would be reduced by the amount of SSI you have already received. This means that even though you have received a Medicare card, which indicates your retroactivity is more than twenty-four months, retroactive SSD will be paid only if your monthly SSD benefit has been more than your SSI.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  18. Ardra says:

    I was approved for ssdi last week and the onset date was October 19,2012…I applied for ssi to but didn’t know I did until I got my approval letter. Thursday I got a call from social security asking me a lot of question to process my ssi. The rep said she is going to send me a reward letter for ssi and they are going to pay me what they owe me…I think she said I will receive a payment in 10days. She said I don’t qualify for ssi and when my ssdi payments start my ssi payments a stop. And they will let me know when I can get my dependents set up.. My questions is what do they owe me, for the 5months or more? and when I found out I was approved I call ss on my own to set up my kids. I was told that they had all the information on my kids I don’t need to come into the office.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Arda,

      Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be retroactive back to the first of the month after your date of application, assuming you have been financially eligible all months since then. Your Social Security Disability (SSD) will begin to accrue April 2013 after the end of the five-month unpaid waiting period. Your SSD back pay will be reduced by the amount of SSI paid for the same months.

      The representative provided the order in which your claims would be processed. It is correct that your children’s benefits will be last. Even if they already have everything needed, the computer work to pay them will happened about both your SSD and SSI are in pay.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Ardra says:

        I still have not received an award letter yet. So I called Social Security yesterday to find out has anything went out for me yet. This first rep I talk to said its going to be a check for 2100 going out for ssi. And you will have a check for 721 from ssi on the first and another check on the 3rd for 760 from ssdi. So I said 760 that’s all. Because my last social security statement before I lost my job said 1326 a month. Do I get both because I was told I would only get ssi, until ssdi start…She said no you only get ssdi. I said well do my kids get half of 760. She said no your kids get 9 bucks each because 799 is your family maximum. I just said ok, because I didn’t think she really knew so I called back got a different rep. The next rep said im not supposed to get both. But according to her screen I do, but don’t go by what the reps say, just wait for the paper work… My question is, is it possible none of them know what the heck there talking about, and I may really get both.. Or could I just be getting this amount for right now,until ssdi figure out my amounts. Because the rep knew what my ssi backpay was, but not the ssdi…im 37, I know my family maximum is not 799

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Arda,

          It is really hard to tell what is going on. I wonder whether the $1,326 on your statement was a projected retirement benefit and there was a different amount in the range of $760 for disability. If that is the case, because $760 is a fairly low benefit, it is possible that your family maximum is only $39 more than your benefit amount. However, everything I am saying is conjecture. I am curious to know what the situation actually is; so if you are agreeable, let me know when you get a written notice.

          One thing you have been told is definitely true: Whether your Social Security is $760 or $1,326, you will not be eligible for ongoing SSI. If you get both payments as described, I suggest not using the SSI payment until you know for sure you are eligible for it.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  19. Hi Kay: My wife and I joined the Hope Pace Program 11/01/2013 thats called Inclusive care for the elderly,here in Fort Myers, Florida and we understood that the Part B Premium of $104.90 would be returned to us as of yet it has not they take it out of our social security each month I am 77 and mynwife is 74 we are medically needy and are on medicare and medicade can you provide us with an answer? Thanks for listening.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robert,

      Typically if a person receives Medicaid, the Medicaid program pays the Medicare Part B premium. It can take a couple of months to coordinate this. I would say if it hasn’t been taken care of by the end of February, it would be a good idea to talk with Hope Pace and/or the Medicaid office and Medicare office. The number for Medicare and Medicaid customer service is (1-800-633-4227).

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Kay

  20. C says:

    Dear Kay, I have a lot of questions. Here goes….what is the difference of ssi, ssd, and ssdi? Because here in Florida my husband has always not held a job due to mental health conditions since about 20. Now he is 32 but we started the disability process in 2010 (after he started treatment)he was just gotten approved and he started receiving ssd benefits in November but last week we got a letter stating that he was denied for ssi, why and what is that? His first ssd check was $420, the second was $432 because of C-O-L-A, but he got a letter from ssd stating that he HAS to pay child support ($125 for one child and $200 for another child that we did a paternity test on and is not his child how can we fix this?) so that is $325 being taken out of his supposed to be already low $432 check per month, I am caring for him and our 3 children but have recently lost my job and our rent and bills still have to be paid and we were depending on his disability and my unemployment to help out at least until I can get back on my feet? Does he or us as a family qualify for any housing, section 8, or hud? We NEED help! I was told by a friend that she gets over $700 and she has the same disability as my husband so is that because she worked more than him? Do the children and I qualify for benefits? Is there any way we can receive more benefits and or back pay for me and the children or will child support be taken out of that too if ? He also received a letter that he does not qualify for back pay and I would like to know would there be a specific reason for that? How does this all work? How can we stop the child support payments being taken out of his $432 at least the $200 for the child that is not his child? Please help!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear C.,

      You raise a lot of questions. First, SSI is Supplemental Security Income. SSI disability benefits are paid to individuals who have income and assets below a certain limit. Part of a spouse’s income may count in determining SSI disability. The SSI denial letter should have explained why he was denied. It may have been because your income was too high. (SSI payment amounts do not depend on the kind of illness; they depend on the amount of other income. Your friend who is receiving $721 likely does not have any countable income.) Now that you have lost your job and are drawing unemployment, your husband might qualify for some SSI to supplement his Social Security. He should contact Social Security to reapply for SSI.

      SSD and SSDI are the same thing–Social Security Disability Insurance. SSD is paid to disabled individuals who have enough work credits from taxed Social Security work. SSD benefits can be garnished for child support. If you have a court-order or other documentation about the non-paternity, take it to the Social Security Administration and request cessation of the child support withholding for that child. If you need some other document, they can tell you what to obtain. Your husband’s SSD may be low enough that his family maximum is the same as his benefit amount so that no benefits are payable for your children.

      Your family may qualify for housing, energy assistance, or food stamps. I suggest that you contact your county or state social services office to find out what your options are.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  21. dana says:

    i have received ssi since 2000 i was told i couldnt get ssdi because i didnt have enuf credits my ex husband gets ssdi an we were married for thirteen years so arent i also suppose to get ssdi from him an what about my minor child please i need help im not smart i nhave a mental disability an they confuse an scare me i need a lawyer bad

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dana,

      If your minor child is your ex-husband’s child also, benefits may be payable on his earnings records. Any benefits paid to you or your son will not reduce your ex-husband’s benefits. Any benefits paid for you will not reduce benefits paid to other dependents on the record because you are divorced. I suggest that you take your ex-husband’s social security number, your child’s birth certificate and your marriage certificate and divorce papers to the Social Security Administration and apply for dependent benefits for you and your child. If you receive dependents benefits for yourself, your SSI will go down, but you may end up with $20 more per month total in Social Security and SSI. Benefits your child receives will not affect your SSI.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  22. Mary A says:

    Hi my name is Mary. I receive ssd not ssi. I have medicare, that’s why I believe it’s ssd. I just got married and I was wondering if my husbands income will have an effect on my income?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

      If you are under age sixty-five and are not on kidney dialysis, then, yes, your benefit is likely to be Social Security Disability (SSD), and your husband’s income will not affect your benefit amount.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Mary A says:

        Oh ok I was kind of confused on what I receive. After the 2 years that I was disabled I started getting medicare. I have a trachea tumor and really can’t do anything. I had a baby and don’t receive any money for him. How can I know for sure if I receive ssd? thank you very much for your response

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mary,

          I feel reasonably sure that you are receiving Social Security Disability. However, you can find out for sure by looking at the cost-of-living increase letter that should have been mailed to you in December. It will name the benefit you are getting. If you cannot locate the letter call the Social Security call center at 1-800-772-1213 and ask whether you are getting Social Security or SSI. Also ask them if your family maximum amount is more than your primary insurance amount. If your Social Security family maximum amount is more than your benefit, your child can receive Social Security Dependents benefits. If it is, ask the call center to set up an appointment for you to apply for your child.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Mary A says:

            The papers that say how much I will receive say retirement, survivors and disability insurance. So is that social security benefits not ssi? About the other social security told me that I receive the maximum amount.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Mary,

            Yes, “Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance” on the top of correspondence from the Social Security Administration means that you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, not Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If your benefit is the same as the family maximum (be sure you asked about family maximum, not just maximum), then no dependents benefits would be payable for your child.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

          • Mary A says:

            Thank you for everything Kay.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            You are welcome, Mary.

  23. Julienne says:

    I just received a letter from SS about my disability claim, saying I was given a fully favorable decision but it says on one of the pages “Last date of insured December 2015″
    I’m confused cuz I was declared “disabled” by the judge…any insight as to what that means??
    I was also sent a letter about SSI saying I have to have a payee for my SSI payments, does that also apply to my SSDI payments??
    Thank you for any advice you can provide:-)

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Julienne,

      If your claim was fully favorable, then the information about when you were last insured just means that you were insured when you became disabled, which is necessary to receive benefits. And, yes, If the medical opinion is that you need a payee for your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you will need one for Social Security Disability (SSDI) also.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  24. Magdalena says:

    I need a little guidance. My dad applied for social security and ssi a couple of years ago but withdrew the application since he was denied ssi due to a couple of rental homes counted as resources. He would like to apply for social security since he is reaching 70 this year and would like ssi so that he can cover all his expenses. My mom is still working, and they have living trust who owns their homes. A couple of their homes are being rented and they get about $100 from each home which is used for self support. I would like to know how to apply for ssi so that the rental homes do not prevent him from getting ssi. Could you help us? Thanks in advance!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Magdalena,

      Your father may not be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) either because of assets above the limit or because of family income. My recommendation is to provide all the information to the Social Security Administration truthfully, so that they can make a determination. The rental properties may be excluded as an income-producing resource, however, the rental income will count as income to the person who receives it. Also, a portion of your mother’s work earnings may be countable income for your father. And, of course, his own Social Security will be countable income. A side note: the fact that the properties are in a living trust would not exclude them if either of your parents is the trustor of the trust. This is true because a living trust can be revoked at any time.

      A word of caution in case your parents be thinking of moving assets to another person to qualify for SSI: In some circumstances giving away or selling property for less than market value can exclude a person from getting SSI for a period of time. The length of the exclusion depends on the value of the asset given away.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  25. vicki phelan says:

    hello, I just recieved noticed that i won my disability case. how long does it take to get your first check and back payments? how can I find out how much it is going to be?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vicki,

      Processing time after medical approval of a disability claim varies a great deal. It depends in part on the following factors: whether you have both a Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income claim or receive or have received workers compensation or certain government pensions. It also depends on whether the decision is a new claim decision or a hearing decision. All that said, the first monthly payment can take from a couple weeks to a couple months or more. Back pay is usually paid within six weeks after the first monthly payment; however, if SSI back pay is more than three times the monthly benefit, it is paid out in installments that are six months apart.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  26. chrstopher says:

    Dear Kay i Have a ? My wife is unable to work due to illness and other medical related problems. We went to SS office and they determined that she didnt have enough work weeks to quailify I did read about the supplement and it looks like it applys to people over the age of 60, my wife is 52. Can you provide any information or advice. I also was wondering if she could receive any type of payments from my benefits..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christopher,

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is paid to individuals who are under age sixty-five and disabled and to individuals age sixty-five and over who have limited income and assets. To be eligible, your wife must be disabled and her and your)income and assets have to fall below a certain limit. I suggest that she initiate an application. Her claim will be screeed first for financial eligibility. If she is financially eligible, then she will be asked for medical information to evaluate whether she is disabled.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  27. Sal says:

    Hello I have a question I applied for disability in Jan.of 2008 and was denied and sent a letter to set a hearing with a judge but I did not get a lawyer because I did not have the money for a lawyer and did not know you didn’t have to pay the lawyer so I let it pass and then reapplied again in June of 2013 and now I am getting a lawyer to represent me so what I want to know will they go back to 2008 or 2013 also I have a son and was told by friends that my son could also get part of my disability claim he is 9 also after being denied in 2008 i got a job working 6 hours a week 1 hour a day which i worked till 2013 when that became to much for me to be able to do any help would be great.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sal,

      Very occasionally a judge will reopen a prior claim, but it is rare. If approved, your Social Security Disability claim will likely be paid based on your 2013 claim. Benefits would start no more than twelve months prior to the date of your 2013 application. If your family maximum is greater than the amount you are eligible to receive, your son will be eligible for benefits also. You need to tell the judge about your work, but the small amount you were working should not affect your claim adversely.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  28. HERMAN CORDIER says:

    I WANT TO,OR I NEED TO GET SOME S.S.I. OR S.S.I.D. I HAVE JUST GOT OUT OF PRISON AND DO NOT HAVE FOOD TO EAT OR A PLACE TO LIVE. I TRY TO GET HELP, BUT NO ONE CARE’S. I NEED HELP, COULD YOU PLEASE HELP ME GET SOME PLACE TO LIVE AND FOOD TO EAT THAT IS ALL I ASK.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Herman,

      To be eligible for Social Security, you must either be disabled or age sixty-two (or be age sixty and the widower of an insured person) and have enough work history to be insured for Social Security. To be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must either be disabled or age sixty-five.

      If you are disabled or one of these ages, I suggest that you file a claim with the Social Security Administration for either Social Security or SSI. Then contact your state or county health and human services to see whether they have a temporary cash assistance program for individuals who are disabled and have an SSI application pending.

      Whether or not you are disabled, you can apply for food stamps and inquire about whether there is any emergency housing or other shelter in your area. You might also ask if there are any organization that help ex-convicts re-enter society.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  29. Anne says:

    Some of your info is confusing. I have been completely disabled since 1990. I filed in November, and was approved in February. I never got any back payment, period.
    My Disabled DH died in 2002 at age 48, and I had to wait until 2004 to collect on his benefit…..which according to what I have read, I should be receiving more than I do. I only receive 60% of his earnings, not the full amount of his check when he died. Is this because of my own disability ?
    I also would like to know why I was never given any back bay either?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anne,

      I suggest that you contact Social Security for an explanation of the calculation of your benefits. I can only offer some general information. Disabled widows are not eligible for widow’s benefits until they reach age fifty; that may be the reason you were not eligible when your husband died. Widows and widowers receive 100% of the the deceased worker’s benefit amount only if they wait to their full retirement age to receive benefits. If you are not your full retirement age (65 to 67 depending on the year you were born), your benefit would be reduced. The younger you take the benefit, the larger the reducton.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  30. Susan Hall says:

    How can I tell if I am receiving Social Security Disability or SSI. I have looked everywhere on my paperwork and it is never defined.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susan,

      Across the top of all mailed notices, it will say either “Supplemental Security Income,” which is SSI, or Disability, Retirement, and Survivors, which is Social Security. Alternatively, you can call Social Security at 1-888-772 1213 and ask.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  31. Rebecca says:

    I am my grandsons legal guardian. And I received a call today saying his claim we filed for SSI was aproved and set up a appt to go in and fill out all the paper work. I then was told I need to get a bank account with his name on it for his benefits to be deposited into. Then I was told I would have to set up a 2nd account to have his back pay deposited to. We filed for his SSI Nov 14th 2013. He will not be getting a large back pay amount, so why does he need two accounts?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rebecca,

      The law requires that retroactive benefits in excess of three times the maximum monthly benefit have to be kept separated in a “dedicated account” and used only for certain specific things. At this point your grandson is eligible for four months back pay. When you go into the office, ask for written information on payee duties in general and also on the use and handling of dedicated accounts.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  32. Alberto Torres says:

    I recieved a letter saying a favorable medical decision was made, i just need to go in to fill out non medical portion of my claim. What does that mean?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alberto,

      The correspondence you received means that your claim has been medically approved and, assuming that all the non-medical eligibility requirements are met, you will receive benefits. Non-medical eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) means having income and assets below the limits for SSI payments, so that will be reviewed for all months since you applied. With Social Security Disability claims, sometimes all that is needed is a copy of your birth certificate and bank account information to set up payment.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  33. Hello kay in november i had kidney failure and i was placed on dialysis. At the time i was working full time.Howver i had to quit my job to concentrate on my health. However i am working now part time. I recently applied for disability and was awarded medicare how long does it take for me to find out about my ssdi and ssi appication status and will i be denied. ALSO if u get medicare does the ssi and ssdi come with the package.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marcus,

      Only people on kidney dialysis can get Medicare without either being age sixty-five or having received twenty-four months of Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. Your application for SSDI and SSI cash benefits is separate from your special entitlement to Medicare for dialysis. Your return to work will not affect your eligibility for Medicare if you are still receiving dialysis. However, be sure to report your part-time work to Social Security right away, giving them the date you returned to work and your gross monthly earnings; so they can take your work activity into account in determining whether you are eligible for disability benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  34. Tracy Hecken says:

    I receive ssd along with a little extra because I have children. I have been disabled since 1997 and have been receiving the ssd since 1998. My husband works. Between the two of us we make 3200 a month. Will I be able to try to get the ssi? If I am no longer married, will I be able to receive it then? If at all? Thank you for your help.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracy,

      To answer your questions, I need to know the amount of your gross SSDI benefit before withholding for Medicare premiums or taxes, the amount paid for your children, and how many children you have.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

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