I recently received an email from a client who indicated that their corporate Section 8 department refused to accept a verification of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a person under age 65 as a verification of disability. The Section 8 department believed that since it was not Social Security Disability (SSD), the person was not necessarily disabled. The Section 8 department was incorrect.
This article will provide a description of how SSI and SSD are alike – and how they are different.
How are the Two Programs Alike?
To qualify for disability benefits under either SSI or SSD, there is no difference between the two programs. The forms are the same, the application process is the same, and the rules for qualifying are the same. In this regard, they may as well be the same program.
How are the Two Programs Different?
The primary differences have to do with the amount of money individuals can receive and the medical benefits. SSI recipients may only receive whatever is the maximum SSI monthly benefit at any particular moment. For the year 2018, the monthly maximum SSI benefit amounts are $750 for an eligible individual and $1,125 for an eligible SSI recipient with an eligible spouse.
Social Security disability on the other hand is based on what a person paid into the system over their years of working. The average SSD benefit is currently approximately $1,200 but can exceed $2,000 per month.
Regarding medical benefits, SSI recipients receive Medicaid and SSD recipients receive Medicare benefits.
SSI is a disability program intended to help individuals who are not insured for Social Security disability. Individuals who have not worked, who have worked very little (possibly entitling them to a small SSD benefit amount that is under the SSI maximum benefit amount), who have worked in the past are no longer currently insured for SSD, and children. SSI disability is based on need – not insured status.
SSI disability beneficiaries must meet income and asset limits at the time of their disability application, when their disability claim is approved, and periodically as long as they are entitled to SSI disability benefits. SSI disability is a needs based disability program and like other needs based programs, SSI beneficiaries must meet the financial requirements of SSI to remain eligible to receive disability benefits. SSD beneficiaries are not subject to any resource and income limits.
In summary, while there are significant differences between SSI and SSD, eligibility is not one of them. If a person under age 65 is receiving SSI, they are disabled.