While there are two common disability programs for adults – Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – many people don’t know the difference. First and foremost, the disability criteria for evaluating each claim is the same under both programs administered by the Social Security Administration. SSD and SSI are both designed to support disabled individuals with a monetary amount as well as a form of insurance, however, the technical criteria that initially define eligibility are completely different.
On one hand, SSD Benefits are available to those who have worked for a prolonged period in the past, accumulating “work credits” as a basis for the funds they will receive under this program. SSI benefits, on the other hand, are available to disabled individuals with little or no income who have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSD (or were a low-wage earner, potentially allowing eligibility for both programs). In order to qualify for SSI, you must have a very limited income and assets — not more than $2000 for an individual and not more than $3,000 for a married couple. Whereas your spouse’s income will not affect your SSD benefits, it can interfere with obtaining SSI benefits.
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